When is £51 million not enough?

The government’s announcement that it will provide £51 million in new funding for HMRC’s customer services was welcomed by many in the accountancy industry.

However, as ICAEW’s Caroline Miskin echo what many felt: “We are pleased that the Government has recognised that HMRC is in desperate need of more funding to address poor service performance. While the £51 million announced may not be enough to meet demand, it is a good start.”

She pointed out that there will be a need to find and train up staff, so there will be a lag before any improvements are seen, so any boost to HMRC customer services from this funding is unlikely to be seen until the autumn and services level may actually drop in the meantime!

Miskin said: “We fully support HMRC’s move to digitalise the tax system and move more interactions online. The problem continues to be that online services are not comprehensive and don’t always work well. HMRC needs to step up delivery of digital services while maintaining traditional services during the transition.”

Meanwhile, the Chartered Institute of Taxation stressed this money needs to be “spent wisely and investment sustained” in order to address problems with HMRC’s helplines and digital services, and meet ever increasing demand!