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