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More evaluation time needed to assess contact centre closures

The Chartered Institute of Taxation’s Low Income Tax Reform Group has said there needs to be further assessment to evaluate the effects of HMRC’s plans to close contact centres before it branches out on a national scale.

HMRC said earlier this year that it planned to shut all 281 centres, which offer in-person advice to nearly 2.5 million taxpayers annually. A telephone service will replace the old system with provisional visits to a number of suitable locations.

The plans will place more focus on accountants in Spital and other areas of the UK, with small business owners having fewer options when it comes to seeking tax advice.

Anthony Thomas, Chairman of the LITRG, fired a warning suggesting that HMRC should express confidence that the change will not have an adverse effect on vulnerable taxpayers. He said:

“We are not convinced that a five month trial, followed by a two month evaluation period, is sufficient time to be sure that this will not be the case.”

The change will impact more than 1,200 jobs. However, many of these workers are expected to be rehoused in the same department. HMRC said that taxpayers will save approximately £12 million eventually, as well as travel costs, whilst further claiming that it will be £13 million cheaper to operate the service.

The 13 north-east closures will be complete by the end of October. National closures look to commence in February of next year should everything go to plan.

Posted by Louise
September 4, 2013
HMRC

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