In this morning's lowdown, HMRC hits back at the NAO's criticism of its customer service, and France launches fraud probe against Google.
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HMRC responds to NAO report
HMRC has responded to the NAO’s damning report, claiming it has made ‘significant improvements’ and now provides its ‘best service in years’.
Addressing the NAO’s criticism, HMRC’s director general for customer services Ruth Owen admitted that HMRC had provided unsatisfactory service in early 2015, but emphasised how it has since ‘fully recovered’. HMRC highlights the hiring of 3,000 additional advisers, a new telephone system, and a new online service as examples of customer service improvements.
Owen added: “Over the past six months we’ve consistently answered calls in an average of six minutes, and have launched new online tax accounts and webchat for everyone, enabling customers to manage their tax affairs wherever and whenever they want.
“There’s never been a better or more convenient service for our customers.”
Google’s Paris headquarters was raided on Tuesday morning, as French investigators continue their enquiry into the software company’s tax affairs.
According to the Guardian, Prosecutors want to establish whether Google has a “permanent establishment” in France.
In a statement, the state financial prosecutor (PNF) said: “These searches form part of a preliminary enquiry opened on 16 June 2015 relating to acts of aggravated financial fraud and organised laundering of aggravated financial fraud, following a complaint from the French tax authorities.”