Charter Annual Report 2016-17

The first full year of the new Committee. 

Your Charter and HMRC

The new Charter Committee came into existence in late 2015 as one of only three direct sub-committees of the HMRC Board. A refreshed version of Your Charter was published in January 2016 based on the work of a group headed up by Ian Young and John Whiting.

The importance of Your Charter can be gauged by the number of references it has received in the annual HMRC reports from 2016-17 (25 references) and 2015-16 (30 references) compared with only 3 references in the previous year, 2014-15. 

The aspiration is to put Your Charter right at the centre of HMRC to ensure that customers get the rights set out in Your Charter and HMRC aspires to provide exemplary customer service.

Annual Report 2016-17

The latest Your Charter Annual Report covers the year to 31 March 2017.

 It is published at the same time as the annual HMRC Accounts and the Tax Adjudicator’s Report so that all these documents can be reviewed at the same time.

 It is disappointing that this version of the Charter Annual Report is only available in Html format and not as a pdf which is easier to read and print out.

What has been going on in 2016-17?

Ian Young who was chair of the predecessor, Tax Advisory, Committee was retained for a year on the Charter Committee to effect a good handover and provide general advice the new Committee. He was not formally a member of the Charter Committee and has now stood down.

Key concerns of the Committee in the past year have been:

Customer services

Digital transformation

Complaints

Tax compliance

How well has HMRC done by reference to the Charter principles?

An independent measure of this is the surveys conducted on behalf of HMRC into the views of individuals, small business and tax advisers (agents). The results are presented separately, as they were last year, and it is quite difficult to get an overall feel for how things have been going. It is undoubtedly true that the results are better this year than in the previous, and past, years but we think there is still much to be done.

There remains a key concern as to whether people think that HMRC are doing enough to ensure appropriate compliance with the rules, this is the Charter principle “tackle those who bend and break the rules”. The highest score of those who think HMRC is achieving this is 37% which is very low and a concern.

The Australian Inspector General of Taxation (IGT) reviews the Australian and other Charters

In December 2016 the IGT published Review into the Taxpayer’s Charter and Taxpayer Protection which included a report on the Charter position in the UK, Canada, United States and New Zealand with brief reports on Mexico and Chile. The UK information is contained in paragraphs 2.54 to 2.79 and is based on information provided by Ian Young and HMRC.

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