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Many accountants and tax advisors dream of the old days when dealing with HMRC, the chance to pick up the phone, talk to an inspector and get the case dealt with. A backward step perhaps? Would it cost rather more than the lean mean machine HMRC is prepared to run to? No, because that is what we are going to get. HMRC is soon to roll out their ‘Once and Done’ programme.
Championed and only operating in Manchester at the moment, HMRC is working with agents and taxpayers to deal with a query only once, and preferable over the phone. In HMRC’s words, ‘a seamless journey’ when making contact with HMRC. If that sounds rather sycophantic, well so be it, if it works accountants and tax advisors will be able to work better and more efficiently.
The proud team at Manchester reports that the Manchester post bag alone receives over one million pieces of post each year and HMRC believes that over 80% of the information received by post could have been obtained over the phone. The ‘Once and Done’ programme will benefit everyone, not least HMRC who will save significant amounts not having to handle so much incoming post and HMRC want agents to see improved interaction as well, so they get the job done once too.
HMRC is now giving more discretion to their frontline staff, so everyone will get a better service when dealing with HMRC. The staff love it too, as they are seeing improved job satisfaction from spending less time on paper chasing.
Not only are agents to be encouraged to phone, instead of writing, but so too are HMRC staff, meaning you can expect to hear more from HMRC over the phone, and for unrepresented taxpayers, they will too.
For more information please see the original article: Accountancy, January 2015, Tax Section. P.27. ‘Once, and the job’s done, if you’re in Manchester’, Yvette Nunn.