HMRC consults on paperless self assessment

HMRC is exploring ways in which it can contact self assessment customers via email and potentially social media as part of a new electronic communications service.

The Revenue recently published a consultation document on reducing the amounts of paper communications it sends out to enable completely paperless self assessment and upgrade its existing service.

According to figures, the majority of those filing returns do so online, but just 25% have online-only communications with HMRC.

The Revenue is therefore consulting on changes to the Income and Corporation Tax regulations 2003 to allow it to deliver statutory notices to customers, via an...

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Comments

Can we get the basics right first please

jalwebster | | Permalink

Whilst I approve the concept of HMRC improving its ability to both contact and be contacted by both taxpayers and agents it is surely more important that they get their basic computer systems and the information they contain functioning cohesively first.  I am informed by someone who should know that presently the only way HMRC can tell which agent (if any) has filed a return form for a particular client is by scrolling through the pages of said return until they come to the page and box with the agent details.  They have apparently no way of interrogating their systems to establish all the clients dealt with by any particular agent, notwithstanding the fact that each firm acting has individual codes for each area of activity in which it acts.  However, HMRC are talking about enabling agents to do much more to make the service run efficiently yet without being able to monitor the performance level of any particular agent - how crazy is that!!!  The prospect of HMRC being able to shower emails and text messages all over the place makes me shudder.

"online-only communications and interactions with HMRC"

chatman | | Permalink

"just 25% of taxpayers have online-only communications and interactions with HMRC."

Could this be related to the fact that HMRC refuses to allow disclose staff email addresses to taxpayers or agents?

PK Group's picture

Can be helpful

PK Group | | Permalink

The 'how to' videos and general important information are great things for HMRC to spread over their social networks.

In the wake of all the privacy scandals of late, these "appropriate security measures" and "robust processes" will need to be of top quality in order to avoid any potential hacking issues. It will be interesting to see how HMRC progress with their social media initiatives.

PK Group

.    1 thanks

ireallyshouldkn... | | Permalink

You can picture it now, HMRC computer emailing a dead email address for 3 years, then a fines mounting, all emailed followed by a determination notice none of which you can do anything about. 

First the tax payer knows about it is when the debt collectors knock on the door. Or will they be standing at the door sending a text?

The trouble with email is its fickle and HMRC simply don't have the resources to monitor the "bounces" or work out which ones are live addresses. Its bad enough trying to keep our client database of 250 odd addresses upto date.  By all means use it for reminders and routine paperwork, but they cant be serious about things like penalties and tax investigations, surely?

Anyhow the pishing email people who seem to be increasingly sophisticated will be delighted if HMRC are actually sending emails to people, all the easier to out-fox the unwary.  Currently we just tell clients "HMRC do not send emails". 

 

HMRC mails on the electric

dgilmour51 | | Permalink

sadly there is no way one could trust in this. Paper, generated by HMRC, is the least irrefutable proof. Neither is non-repudiation, proof-of-sending/delivery etc. decently bottomed out in the electric world.
And as HMRC policy on email addresses means one would not be communication with a 'person' but a dustbin called something like 'black-hole@hmrc.gov.uk'.

As utterly appalling as HMRC's track record on warehouses full of unopened post may be, at least one can potentially prove it's actually there.