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ICAEW comment on NAO HMRC customer service report


Published: 15 May 2024

ICAEW has responded to the NAO report on HMRC's customer service performance published today (Wednesday, 15 May).

Responding to the NAO report on HMRC customer service performance, Caroline Miskin, ICAEW Senior Technical Manager, Digital Taxation, said: “This report provides valuable insight into the depth and scale of HMRC’s customer service problems, which we have been raising with HMRC and government for years.

“With more than two-thirds of HMRC customer service demand due to errors, delays and failures in processes, this report also makes it clear that HMRC overestimated the budget reductions it could achieve. HMRC’s budget has come under further pressure because of  wrongly-assumed improvements in staff sickness levels and more efficient use of staff time, along with increased length of calls, IT outages and inflation.

“Things simply can’t continue as they are at HMRC without consequences for tax collection, and more inefficiency costs falling on taxpayers and agents. It’s startling that callers spent the equivalent of 798 years waiting on HMRC helplines in 2022/23, especially as this doesn’t include time spent listening to automated messages.

“Modernisation and digitalisation are the way forward, but HMRC needs to significantly step up its digital offering, which is not reliable or comprehensive and doesn’t meet the needs of taxpayers. Traditional communication methods - phone and post - need to be maintained during the transition to digital services.

“The additional funding of £51m announced on Monday should help to alleviate the current situation, but it will be some months before the impact of that will be seen and it does not address the need to improve digital services.”


Contact: ICAEW media office, stephen.froome@icaew.com or 07970 402 073