HMRC’s latest customer satisfaction survey has proffered mixed results as the taxman improves in some areas, but falls in others.

Taxpayers, accountants and small businesses were all in included in the survey, which has put HMRC’s chances of hitting their 2015 customer service targets at risk.

There was an improved response in perceptions of HMRC. Customers have a more positive view of the taxman’s trustworthiness, honesty and integrity, while they also think HMRC are now more effective in the protection of personal and business data.

Both accountants and SMEs have a better view of HMRC’s trustworthiness. 65% of accountants and 79% of small businesses think the taxman is trustworthy, while the number of people saying HMRC are honest went up as well.

This is good news for HMRC who have been pushing forward with increasing their powers to reclaim tax from citizens and businesses.

Martin Casmir, Managing Director at Bloomsbury Professional said:“High profile crackdowns on aggressive tax avoidance schemes used by high net worths and celebrities have really boosted public support for HMRC in the last year. They have helped counteract the perception that HMRC has previously focused excessively on ordinary taxpayers.”

On the other hand, people’s view of whether HMRC is better at collecting tax than repaying it has dimmed. Previously 59% of taxpayers and 41% of small businesses thought that was the case, while now those figures are 41% and 36% respectively.

There was other bad news for HMRC as the survey revealed just 70% of small businesses thought the taxman was easy to contact, down from 80% back in 2008/09. Blame for this has been put on staff cuts which has seen HMRC employee numbers fall by 34,000 since 2005. Along with that, a further 10,000 are expected to be cut in 2015.

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