Public Accounts Committee’s inquiry: HMRC Standard Report 2022-23

Consultation author


Our response published

16 October 2023

Executive summary

  • HMRC is failing to meet its obligations under its Charter and it is harming taxpayers and UK productivity.
  • The latest annual report showed customer satisfaction declining and telephone services falling well below target. As a result, accountants and tax advisers are facing severe delays and disruption which is harming businesses and taxpayers alike.
  • The temporary closure of the self-assessment helpline over the summer is not a sustainable approach to this problem. While the impact of the helpline decision should be thoroughly assessed, the approach of closing one service to address backlogs elsewhere should not be adopted elsewhere as it could risk further backlogs and administrative burdens on HMRC.
  • HMRC urgently needs extra investment in their customer services. The tax authority has had to contend with significant demands in recent years but with declining resources. The government must invest in customer services now to reverse the trend and ensure HMRC meets its Charter’s responsibilities.
  • Beyond investment, there are other solutions that the government could consider to reduce the burdens on HMRC. Digitisation should be progressed without any further delays, co-designed more with software developers, and accompanied with targeted support for those who are digitally excluded.
  • A long-term strategy for HMRC, including tax simplification and workforce planning, would also help HMRC ensure it has the workforce necessary to meet required service performance.
  • The government must consider what it wants the role of HMRC to be in the future and focus on those core priorities, while considering what other bodies could support remaining functions. For example, professional bodies could contribute much more to HMRC’s compliance responsibilities if there was a compulsory requirement for all paid-for tax advisers.
Read our response (PDF)