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Long-awaited charter finally launched

12 November 2009
Issue: 4232 / Categories: News , taxpayers charter , Admin

CIOT hails 'important step in taxpayer-taxman relations'

HMRC’s long-awaited charter was finally published today, almost two years after it was first mooted.

The document of concurrence, which is titled Your Charter, sets out the nine rights and three obligations of individuals, businesses and other groups who deal with the taxman.

The Revenue’s commitments include those to ‘respect you’, ‘treat you as honest’ and ‘accept that someone else can represent you’. In return, the department expects taxpayers to ‘be honest’, ‘respect our staff’ and ‘take care to get things right.’

The new charter will go a long way to helping make the UK’s tax system as useable and accessible as possible, claimed the financial secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Timms.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation welcomed the new document, with tax policy director John Whiting calling it ‘an important step forward in relations between taxpayers and the taxman, [which] will help people in their dealings with HMRC.

‘It is a key signpost and safeguard for taxpayers, particularly for those who do not have an adviser,’ he added.

Since it was first proposed by the Revenue in January 2008, the CIOT has been active in the shaping of the taxman's charter.

‘We are delighted that the final [version] reflects many of our proposals for what it should include,’ said Mr Whiting. ‘The first draft… was deeply disappointing and wholly inadequate, but HMRC deserve credit for listening to representations from ourselves and other tax professionals, and producing a much-improved final text.’

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group also played a significant role in the development of Your Charter.

The organisation’s chairman, John Andrews, greeted the publication by saying: ‘The people who need the most protection against less-than-perfect service from HMRC are those who cannot afford to employ a tax adviser. I am pleased that the new charter has strengthened their ability to recognise what they can expect to receive by way of fair treatment.’

Mr Andrews went on to praise the Government’s commitment to regularly review of the document.

‘I believe there is room to strengthen the charter in future,’ he said, ‘such as including an obligation on HMRC not just to answer people’s questions, but to be proactive in offering explanations.’

Issue: 4232 / Categories: News , taxpayers charter , Admin
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