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Concerns about suggested HMRC changes

26 June 2008
Categories: News
LITRG fears for 'vulnerable' taxpayers

The Poynter report has been greeted by the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) as marking 'a bold way forward', but the organisation has also stressed with a number of reservations about the paper's recommendations for changes at the Revenue.

'A new strategic approach to HMRC data… should be welcomed by people on low incomes,' said the LITRG, 'provided - and it is a big proviso - that the needs of the most vulnerable “customers” of HMRC are appropriately recognised'.

As matters currently stand all change that happens within the department 'seems to have potentially difficult consequences for those on low incomes', the group added.

Its concerns include:

  • Funding of substantial change. 'We have already expressed grave concerns about the ability of HMRC to deliver improved customer performance with fewer and fewer resources, said the LITRG. 'We would like to see strategic investment aimed at customer service… which, if it was implemented properly, would save money down the road'.
  • The push to electronic communication. This, remarked the LITRG, should not leave behind some of the most vulnerable sectors of taxpayers, such as older pensioners. Imaginative ideas need to be debated in order to service these needs.
  • The Poynter report suggests that cross-sector functions, such as running contact centres or debt management, might be split up and distributed across lines of business. The LITRG is concerned that 'scarce resources at a senior level might get diluted just when they are starting to take a holistic approach'.

The group concluded: 'The Poynter review has shown a bold way forward. We are in favour of such an approach as long as those at the bottom of the economic pile do not get left behind'.

Categories: News
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