As part of its drive to cut costs HMRC will stop issuing copy letters to tax agents of P2 PAYE coding notices, P800 tax calculations and a collection of Self Assessment notices.
"We hope that agents will understand our decision to withdraw these communications. We estimate... that we will save in the region of £1.25m by discontinuing the issue of agents' copies of Forms P2 and P800 alone," the department said in a briefing note sent to agents on Monday 6 September.
While withdrawing agent copies of some notices, HMRC will include a new statement on the letters advising taxpayers that the form should be shown to their agent or adviser. The notices affected include:
- P2 PAYE Coding Notices to be dropped from December 2010
- P800 Tax Calculation (August/September 2010)
- P810 targeted review form (already dropped in April)
- SA 250 advising tax payer of UTR and need to file a return and SA 251 Letter advising that tax returns will no longer need to be completed (both October 2010)
- SA 252 Letter for those who don't submit a tax return but are liable to higher rate (September 2010, but already dropped since April)
The CIOT published the HMRC message on its website and immediately raised a series of concerns. While appreciating and supporting the need to cut government spending, the CIOT warned that the move was a false economy.
AccountingWEB.co.uk members responded in much the same tone. ADCWebb suggested that HMRC could lodge electronic copies of P2s and P800s (as a minimum) against the client record on the Agent log-page, in the same way as statements of account are recorded.
If you would like to formally participate in providing constructive feedback to HMRC on postal communications and other agent issues, there is a facility to do so in AccountingWEB's Working Together eGroup.