HMRC is exploring ways of reaching self assessment customers via email and even social media as part of a new electronic communications service.
The Revenue recently published a consultation document on reducing the paper communications it sends out and raising the prospect of a completely paperless upgrade to its existing self assessment service.
According to HMRC the vast majority of returns are filed online, but just 25% of taxpayers have online-only communications and interactions 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 opt-in electronic communications service - via email or SMS text from the trial date of April 2014.
A spokesperson said that the Revenue already uses social media to communicate people's tax requirements, for example through Twitter Q&As, and YouTube 'how-to' videos.
"As set out in our 2012 Digital Strategy, HMRC is also looking at how social media can be used to support our service to customers," he said.
"This work is at an early stage but might include, for example, answering simple queries or providing general messages such as reminders."
It is proposing an opt-in service for both clients and agents, where they can both chose whether to receive communication from HMRC via electronic or paper means.
If users do opt in, the Revenue will message the user, telling them that information has been delivered to a secure mailbox. One of the options it's considering is how it can use social media as part of the new service.
Information HMRC is proposing to send electronically only includes reminders, statements and statutory notices, including:
Notice of the determination of tax by HMRC where no return has been delivered
The Revenue said it will take appropriate security measures to verify contact details with the customer.
To put this into context with this proposal the individual would be guided to an online portal where they would be able to access a message from HMRC.
When asked if the upcoming EU data protection rules and new cyber security framework would have an impact on this, a spokesperson said that HMRC had "robust processes in place" to protect the personal data it holds.
"This includes strong confidentiality provisions and cyber security protection. When the reforms are adopted HMRC will be required – like all organisations caught by the new provisions – to implement data protection policies that comply with the new laws."
It also discussed in the consultation what the move would mean for agents.
HMRC said it would be an extension of the functionality of the current agents’ online service, whereby it would enable them to use third party software to view communications HMRC has sent to clients online.
Agents would also be able to make a separate, independent choice on whether they want to opt in or out of electronic communications to their client, but wouldn’t be able to make that choice on behalf of the client.
But, they are considering suggestions on how to capture the consent of a client, as it acknowledges that most clients allow their agent to access the online service on their behalf.