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HMRC’s targets for the number of customers’ telephone calls answered and letters opened has been cut to an 80% reply rate within 15 days.

The memo was an intranet message by Mary Aiston, HMRC’s director of specialist tax. In it, she said that between 250-300 jobs from the specialist tax unit, which targets high-end taxpayers and complex cases, will go by 2015.

This suggests that customer service targets have been revised down in order to use more of the department’s resources to fulfill the targets announced in the 2014 budget for tackling tax avoidance and evasion.

Mary Aiston said:

“While these [targets] are lower than for 2013-14, if we can deliver them consistently during the year across the whole of Personal Tax, customers will experience a better service as there won’t be the drops in service at peak times.”

Chancellor George Osborne announced new measures in last year’s autumn statement designed to close tax-avoidance loopholes that were hoped would raise £6.8bn. However, the Treasury select committee said earlier this month that the forecasts were “inherently extremely uncertain”.

The committee said it was worried that these projections were putting unreasonable pressure on HMRC, and called for scrutiny by the government’s fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Photo by Brendan C