The Taxpayers Charter
...it's soooo grate.
Extract from letter sent to Chief Sec to Treasury.
Did i get a reply? guess
You are quoted as endorsing the vacuous Charter recently launched concerning tax-payers. I find it difficult to believe that you have actually read this document, and your endorsement gives the document a veneer of respectability it so really does not deserve.
I set out below the beginnings of a meaningful charter with some hard points in it that would challenge those running HMRC to be genuinely concerned about taxpayers basic rights. This was submitted to the tax website where you are quoted as endorsing the charter ( http://www.taxationweb.co.uk/tax-news/hmrc/hmrc-launch-new-charter.html ).
There is sooooooo little here it is a lie to call it a “Charter”. And the header “what businesses dealing with HMRC can expect from the department” is a laugh. What planet do these suits inhabit? I was hoping for something along the lines of……
HMRC believes in treating taxpayers fairly. In order to achieve this we will:-
1. ensure all tax offices are open between 08.30-18.00 m-f
2. direct access to local vat offices will be restored so that taxpayers can talk to someone about specifics on their business rather than inaccurate chat
3. outside these times national contact centres for each main discipline will take enquiries, and be able to access tax payers records
4. all correspondence received will be at least acknowledged with a specific case officer reference within 14 days of receipt, this will include VAT registrations.
5. no incoming mail will be ignored
6. an email communication system will be installed by xx 2010 for tax payers to communicate with us.
7. The 64-8 form will be re-designed into ‘english’, and allow tax payers to indicate simply which methods of communication and tax areas agents will be authorised for. HMRC will cease the practice of throwing away every other 64-8.
8. All tax departments will publish on the central website an index of telephone numbers, which will include a ‘real’ telephone number so that mobile phone users can call them without it costing a fortune on 0845/0800 numbers. This will include all government departments so that tax payers ACTUALLY get a choice as to whether they ring the landline number or the 0845 number.
9. This will also contain a fax number for each office.
10. All fax machines will be kept operating, the practice of turning them off or having no paper in to fob off taxpayers will cease. When a tax payer rings up and says “your fax machine is not working three times” we will no longer ignore the taxpayer or tell him to “just keep trying”, we will investigate the problem and rectify it without delay.
11. all staff required to have telephone contact with taxpayers will have a good conversational command of English, and be able to express themselves clearly on the telephone, and will have a basic knowledge of UK geography.
12. The pernicious loan shark rates of interest masquerading as “penalties” charged on late vat payments are to be abolished as soon as the regulations can be laid. In future all late payments of tax will attract a uniform late rate of 6% above BOE Base Rate.
13. all telephone systems will no longer refuse calls when busy. The queuing systems will ensure that calls are dealt with on arrival basis not at random. Our target for picking up a call and talking to you is “within 30 secs”. The performance of every tax office against this standard will be published in a national league tenable. If Euston Corporation Tax Office and Sefton Employers PAYE ever get off joint bottom of this table then we will know that real progress is being made.
14. If any caller wishes to make a complaint, our staff will no longer wriggle and squirm to avoid allowing the complaint. They will, without argument, put the person through to a complaints team WHO WILL ACTUALLY BE KEEN TO RESOLVE THE COMPLAINT and (take over the phone) full details and make sure the query is dealt with professionally. Our complaints helpsheet will in future also contain a central complaints contact address/telephone/fax number so that we no longer make it as hard as possible to submit complaints.
15. Our online systems will no longer be “up-graded” across key filing dates e.g. 31st January.
16. our website indexing will be enhanced by faqs that answer REAL questions rather than just puffing out propaganda. If the answer to an faq is ‘no’ then we will tell the truth in future instead of weasling around.
17. We want tax-payers to file everything electronically with us. We are allocating online filing credentials to all tax-payers, and will send these to you. For example so that no one will ever have to fight the onslime VAT system again just to file a vat return. In future all filings will be eeeeasy to do.
In return we expect taxpayers to treat our staff with respect, and deal with them honestly.
I may have a missed a few points?