Back in September we reported on how Revenue & Customs were set to cut costs by only sending certain documents to both the tax-payer and their tax agent/accountant. For Crunch customers this didn’t make any difference because we act as their registered address anyway – meaning that all jargon-filled literature comes to us as well as them.
However, for small business owners without an accountant functioning as their registered address, this could have been problematic.
The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) were particularly concerned. As their deputy president, Anthony Thomas, said at the time:
“This is a seriously short-sighted move from the Revenue. Everybody recognises that there is pressure on all government departments to find savings wherever they can. But by keeping tax agents less well-informed about their clients’ tax obligations HMRC are likely to find they lose more money than they save.”
It seems that HMRC have been listening because they are now backtracking over their ‘paper cuts’ and said that some documents will be sent to tax advisers and accountants, and not just the customer. These documents include Tax Calculation P800, Entry to Self-Assessment letter SA250 and Exit from Self-Assessment letter SA251.
However, there is still concern that not all documents will be sent to both parties and the CIOT remains worried that mix-ups may still occur.
Meanwhile, a survey of staff at HMRC reveals a ‘startling’ lack of faith in senior management. This is hardly a surprise in light of the PAYE fiasco and the mass job cuts over the last few years (amounting to a whopping 20,000, with a further 12,000 posts to be cut by 2015).
While the Government cuts these jobs, they also seek an increase in revenue by clawing back unpaid taxes and related fines – this amounts to a big ask of the dwindling HMRC staff. And what this may ultimately mean is greater potential for future blunders from the revenue – something that freelancers, contractors and small business owners will need to be wary of.
The survey of HMRC staff revealed that:
* 12% felt HMRC was well managed
* 25% agreed their pay adequately reflected their performance
* 25% were satisfied with their “total benefits package”
* 23% felt their pay was reasonable
* 15% said they were proud to tell others they worked for the Revenue
Further to this, 25% said they wanted to leave HMRC now or within the next 12 months (though 58% could see themselves remaining for the next three years or more).
If you could paint a picture of HMRC, it would probably resemble Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream.’