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Tax agent service dashboard screen grab
HMRC

HMRC trials agent service dashboard

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A new tax agent dashboard presenting current service levels for post and online requests is being tested by HMRC.

26th Jan 2022
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The dashboard is online for a trial period of three months and according to a post on HMRC’s Agent Forum is designed to give agents “accurate, consistent and clear information” on the tax authority’s performance.

The HMRC service dashboard test lists key Revenue services and waiting times, including self assessment, PAYE and agent services. It outlines whether a specific service is operating within the department’s service level agreement (SLA) or if there’s a delayed service, with the data updated on a weekly basis.

Tax agent service dashboard
Source: HMRC

News of the live trial first appeared on the Agent Forum on 19 January 2022, with a request not to share information on the dashboard or share the link widely for the moment because the tax authority “do not want to disappoint people when they cannot get access.”

Dashboard users can provide feedback over the three-month trial period by using a link on the page. 

When approached for comment on the new dashboard, Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) technical officer Helen Thornley told AccountingWEB she was “pleased HMRC believes increased transparency is a good thing”.

“The creation of the dashboard follows discussions between HMRC and professional bodies, including the ATT, about HMRC service standards,” said Thornley. “The purpose of the dashboard is to help agents get a better idea of postal progress over a few key services without the need to check ‘where’s my reply’.

“While HMRC is working to catch up, we welcome this increased transparency,” continued Thornley. “This should hopefully enable agents to better manage client expectations and save on chasing time. We have already received positive feedback from members who have used the dashboard to evidence to clients the likely timescale for processing.” 

Just before Christmas, HMRC informed agents that it was taking most of its webchat support services offline for three months from 4 January.

An email for agents explained that webchat was effective for simple queries, but “supporting customers with complex queries has proven to be inefficient”

While the agent service dashboard is not a webchat replacement and does not address performance problems, it is hoped that this increased transparency will help agents manage client expectations while HMRC tackles backlogs caused by Covid and Brexit.

Replies (16)

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By Paul Crowley
26th Jan 2022 15:25

Can someone just tell HMRC to stop all changes until MTD ITSA has been successfully tested

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By Hugo Fair
26th Jan 2022 19:04

Not sure how truly useful that is (although it's a major psychological step for HMRC in moving away from the default 'avoidance of blame' culture that permeates their thinking).

Now if each area was accompanied by a synopsis (and links to more details) of the practical impacts of these delays ... ability to offset / delays in issuing of penalties or calculating interest / etc ... then that would really be useful (as a point of reference both for untrained HMRC staff and for clients)!

BTW all the examples are about claims/repayments ... are these the only areas to be displayed?

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By SteveHa
27th Jan 2022 08:41

Quote:
This should hopefully enable agents to better manage client expectations and save on chasing time. We have already received positive feedback from members who have used the dashboard to evidence to clients the likely timescale for processing

Or, here's a novel idea, how about HMRC get their act together and do their job in a reasonable time frame so that expectations don't have to be managed.

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Replying to SteveHa:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
27th Jan 2022 09:49

Quite any rational business would not have months and months of delays requiring customer to constant contact points and complaints to get anything done.

The whole system being designed ought to be redundant if HMRC were on time, which paradoxically they might be IF and only if we didn't have to contact them multiple times to get anything done.

Moreover if agents could rely on the simple act of our letters and calls being certain to be acted on, or a "no action" response received, we would know if to recontact HMRC or not, but instead enquires are left for months and then just tipped in the bin from what I can work out. Agents don't know where they are, end up following up time and time again. This system of course gives a minor help, but why not just be public data available to anyone to see? Why it is agent specific?

Thanks (5)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
wolfy
By rob winder
27th Jan 2022 10:04

Then we end up looking like idiots in our clients eyes as they think we haven't done our job.

I would get the whole lot of them back in the office now where they can be marginally better managed and hopefully marginally more efficient.

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By agknight
27th Jan 2022 10:00

Organisations today spend a lot of effort skirting around a problem and inventing stuff to tell everyone what they are not doing about the actual problem.

The problem: not answering the phone, lacking knowledge when the phone answered, losing online registrations in a black hole......

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By David Hartley
27th Jan 2022 10:03

Where do we find this dashboard please? Can't obviously find within our agent account and the ubiquitous google search is no help, nor is one on .gov.uk Thanks in advance.

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Replying to David Hartley:
Tom Herbert
By Tom Herbert
27th Jan 2022 12:10

My apologies David. There's now a link to the dashboard in the 2nd paragraph of the story.

I added a link in the writing of the story, but it appears to have been stripped out in the final posting of it.

Thanks for pointing this out. All the best,

Tom

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Replying to TomHerbert:
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By Hugo Fair
27th Jan 2022 15:06

Thanks for that ... now I no longer have to guess (based on that one screen-grab) at what it covers - and am pleased to see a slightly wider selection.

But what about anything to do with CGT or PAYE or Pensions ... or even, dare I say it, MTD?

It all seems typically rushed and half-baked, which is OK for HMRC but not for us.

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By Rgab1947
27th Jan 2022 10:16

Don't tell me its another registration, reference number and password.

Have two already, one for MTD (VAT only which is next to useless) and the old one that tells me real info (sort of)

In MS I have one login and pw and can access everything (with biometric logins/authentication) office365, my account, Azure etc. So much easier.

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Replying to Rgab1947:
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By Vallery Lee
29th Jan 2022 12:30

Well, I seem to have 3 separate logins and passwords - as you say, one login and password does everything on MS. Personally I can't see much good in the dashboard and think time would be better spent getting the phones and letters answered. I wouldn't mind an answer to my letter of July 2021.

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Replying to Rgab1947:
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By Vallery Lee
29th Jan 2022 12:30

Well, I seem to have 3 separate logins and passwords - as you say, one login and password does everything on MS. Personally I can't see much good in the dashboard and think time would be better spent getting the phones and letters answered. I wouldn't mind an answer to my letter of July 2021.

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By Mr J Andrews
27th Jan 2022 10:39

Presumably this three month 'Dashboard' trial is aligned to the three month 'Pausing' announced by HMRC just before Xmas.
Looks like Tom on Dashboard , Dick on Pausing and Harrah on Full Speed Behind.

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By johnjenkins
27th Jan 2022 12:54

Sounds like HMRC have been eating a bit of Boris birthday cake.

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By Seadog
29th Jan 2022 09:04

How HMRC can think that the Dashboard is the answer to their prayers beggars belief. The processing times revealed are a National disgrace and Jim Harra and Myrtle should be held to account.

The Option to Tax delays were pulled off the list when it became obvious that the true position was being concealed.

HMRC has become a dystopian nightmare. Comments on a postcard please.

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By AndrewV12
15th Feb 2022 13:41

A new tax agent dashboard.

I have only just got used to the last one.

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