Tax staff: 'HMRC not performing'

Only one per cent of UK tax inspectors strongly believe that their employer - Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs - is running as well as it should.

Half of inspectors also believe customer service is worse than it was before the Inland Revenue merged with HM Customs & Excise, says an internal poll of 20,000 of its staff.

Obtained by a Sunday newspaper, the poll reportedly reveals just 14 per cent of officials think the fusing of the tax departments has proved a “good thing.”

Internally, morale at HMRC appears to be plummeting: just a quarter of officials feel secure in their jobs, while one in five say they have been bullied at work within the last 12 months.

The insecurity may stem from another of the poll’s findings – that almost three quarters think the taxman’s lot has got worse over the past year.

And although just 27 per cent of see Revenue & Customs as committed to developing its staff’s skills, a new training course will be offered this month to tackle flagging morale.

Disclosures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, including course paperwork, claim 200 junior inspectors are to attend a “spring school” where they will learn to MAD – ‘Make A Difference.’

They will learn “radical” approaches for tackling admin and the processing of tax returns to head off being disillusioned – a consequence of working at HMRC that tax experts say is to be expected.

“I’m not surprised to see morale is so low,” Matthew Elliot, chief executive of The Taxpayers’ Alliance, told the paper.

“They are under tremendous pressure to squeeze more and more money out of the poor taxpayer.”

Instead of sending its staff on a course that seems little more than a “holiday,” the tax authority should invest in ways to boost taxpayers’ understanding of the system, Mr Elliot said.

Officials at HMRC must increase the amount of unpaid tax they collect over the next year by 25 per cent.

They are also tasked to recover an extra £10.5 billion in outstanding tax from individuals and businesses by 2008.


 

6th June 2007

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