They've got you in their sights now ...

... so will you respond before they unload even more of their work onto your broad shoulders?

Didn't find your answer?

It's not just changes that were announced yesterday, but an oncoming avalanche of 'consultations' - including:

1. "Simplifying and modernising HMRC's Income Tax services through the tax administration framework:

This discussion document explores how HMRC can simplify and modernise HMRC’s Income Tax services as part of its Tax Administration Framework Review. It sets out HMRC’s intention to move to a digital by default approach for some of its outputs, seeks views on improving PAYE processes, and launches a review of the IT Self Assessment criteria." - https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/simplifying-and-modernising-...

AND

2. "Expanding the cash basis:

This consultation welcomes views on options to extend the self-employed cash basis, which is a simplified way of calculating taxable profits for IT purposes. The government wants to ensure as many businesses as possible are able to benefit from this simplification." - https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/expanding-the-cash-basis

.

There's a lot to read, so I'll restrict my comments for now and simply publish a few extracts ...

* "The introduction of good digital channels has helped reduce contact by phone and post. However, HMRC needs an even higher proportion of taxpayers to self-serve online ...  HMRC will provide less choice around the non-digital channels it offers to taxpayers (such as telephony and post) to reduce the use of these channels"

* "When taxpayers sign up for their digital tax account, we will assume that they are able to receive all products digitally unless they indicate they wish to opt out of digital communications."

* " HMRC is seeking views on whether all, but digitally excluded taxpayers should be required to register for ITSA online, through their digital tax account. Using the digital by default approach, HMRC would assume consent from the taxpayer to receive future ITSA communications digitally, unless they opted out. HMRC would then deliver the taxpayer’s first notice to file digitally and require the first and subsequent annual ITSA returns to be delivered digitally."

* "HMRC may also be able to use third party data to proactively reach out to taxpayers who need to come into the ITSA regime ... (recent) research into the experiences of unrepresented taxpayers at and around registration .. (shows) that there is low awareness of Income Tax obligations and processes and a need for better and more targeted and proactive education and guidance from HMRC."

* "more than two-thirds of eligible businesses, around 3 million self-employed people, do not currently use the cash basis even though the government thinks that many could benefit from its simplicity"

.

What is most noticeable (to me anyway) is that the focus is entirely on possible ways of improving existing standard forms/processes through 'digital channels' - where improving is a euphemism for further reducing use of HMRC resources.

This is fine in itself but doesn't address the heart of the day-to-day issues (for you oe your clients) of dealing with HMRC ... resolving the situation when such a process 'breaks' OR speaking to someone who is competent in that aspect of tax OR getting a response to email/letters in less time than it takes penalties to pile up whilst waiting to hear.

To be fair, there are *some* interesting 'suggestions' scattered across the many pages ... so it'd be interesting to hear anyone's opinion as to which are worthy of further discussion - and which are just hot air (and to be avoided wherever humanly possible)?

Replies (14)

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Routemaster image
By tom123
16th Mar 2023 14:26

The main thing would be to combine NI and Income Tax, and get rid of the idea of "Capital vs Revenue" - which means less and less once you have "Fully Expensing" etc,

None of this will happen though.

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Ivor Windybottom
By Ivor Windybottom
16th Mar 2023 14:44

I continue to find it galling that HMRC say digital first or digital by default and then the majority of their services need accessing through the post at some point, with no prospect of email. I know there is the security issue, but surely some form of secure messaging could be instigated?

It seems HMRC's view of digital is that the taxpayer should be compelled to use their digital service, but when something is required from HMRC it is only possible to use an arrangement from the last century.

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Replying to Ivor Windybottom:
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By Open all hours
16th Mar 2023 18:20

Or even the century before last?

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Replying to Ivor Windybottom:
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By Hugo Fair
16th Mar 2023 23:27

Certainly 'digital' has been predominantly a one-way channel so far in HMRC's view - but there are vague stirrings in the consultation that suggest they might be considering some two-way exchanges.

It's probably worth encouraging them to try it (even if that means wading through the document and sending them a response).

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RLI
By lionofludesch
16th Mar 2023 16:21

"The introduction of good digital channels has helped reduce contact by phone and post."

I missed that happening.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Catherine Newman
16th Mar 2023 16:29

And me and everybody else. Still Jim Harra thinks the digital channels are working effectively.

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Replying to Catherine Newman:
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By Open all hours
16th Mar 2023 18:22

Bit out of season but ‘Jim Harra thinks….’ has the makings of a great Christmas party game?

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Replying to Open all hours:
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By Hugo Fair
16th Mar 2023 23:32

I like it.

But it could require indefinite reserves of endurance (working your way through the 'thoughts' of the Flat Earth Society and their ilk) ... rather like dealing with HMRC come to think of it!

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
16th Mar 2023 17:05

Digital channels will be fun when it comes to appeals given 90% of people wont have read whatever reminder/notice/etc if its hidden away on a portal somewhere and you have to fark about with codes texted to your phone etc etc.

HMRC dont seem to understand an awful lot of tax payers are not 25. Still maybe they dont want to bother with older tax payers. Too much hassle.

In other news I got a blizzard or letters from HMRC this morning telling me about interest on CT refunds. Quite why they feel the need to post that out to me, but not bother with sending letters about the payment deadline for CT for those that dont pay I have no idea.

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Tornado
By Tornado
16th Mar 2023 18:30

Most of us know that the main reason for us contacting HMRC is because their Digital System has gone wrong and we cannot fix it online.

If HMRC could create systems that do work properly, then it would be no problem to use them.

There I go again, drifting into a fantasy world where HMRC systems actually work properly.

Sigh

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Replying to Tornado:
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By Hugo Fair
16th Mar 2023 23:39

Quite.

Any system development with which I was involved in the past always had a 'design section' called "What do we do when it goes wrong".

Only people as foolish as those in charge at HMRC deny the possibility of errors occurring - either at the design stage (when it's easier to fix or at least to trap things), or once the system is live (which is what we all encounter despite HMRC's attempts to blame it on 'users' - who are suddenly no longer 'customers')!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
Routemaster image
By tom123
17th Mar 2023 07:53

See also "Post Office Horizon" software!

Hugo Fair wrote:

Quite.

Any system development with which I was involved in the past always had a 'design section' called "What do we do when it goes wrong".

Only people as foolish as those in charge at HMRC deny the possibility of errors occurring - either at the design stage (when it's easier to fix or at least to trap things), or once the system is live (which is what we all encounter despite HMRC's attempts to blame it on 'users' - who are suddenly no longer 'customers')!

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By sallyrichardson
17th Mar 2023 12:14

So they are going from post and phone to a digital portal. If only there was some other way to communicate that didn't take paper and trees, and didn't need long call centre queues. Where you could receive messages in order that they were sent and send a reply to the sender at a push of the button, that they would get straight away.

I know - I am just dreaming.... and sending messages like this must be so much more expensive than post.

Oh..... wait a minute....

(In case of those who miss sarcasm - I'm talking about emails. Free, easy to implement, very efficient and easy for everyone. If every department at the HMRC used emails wouldn't life just be better all round?)

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Replying to sallyrichardson:
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By JacquiMBurns
17th Mar 2023 14:01

Only if they bothered to read them....which they don't!

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