Calls for digital-driven HMRC to improve telephone services

Under the shadow of Making Tax Digital (MTD), HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has again come under fire for its diminishing telephone services.

The news comes after the Government-supported Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) published a new report into the telephony costs incurred by taxpayers – which concluded that HMRC must invest in improving its telephone contact services.

The SSAC said that HMRC must consider the importance of telephony as a key means of communication for ‘some time’, as MTD continues to confuse consumers and drag its heels.

The report read: “During the period since our earlier reports there have been major developments in the customer channel strategy for both departments as they seek to move increasingly towards a ‘digital by default’ environment.

“But efficient and low-cost telephony is still a vital need for many customers, especially the more vulnerable; and is likely to be for some time to come, even if on a declining scale”.

The report comes shortly after the National Audit Office (NAO) urged HMRC that it is facing a great challenge in building “public trust that the new digital systems are easy to use and secure”.

According to the NAO, HMRC has thus far failed to fully estimate the costs of MTD for taxpayers and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The NAO says that, at current, HMRC risks losing the confidence of taxpayers unless it releases further information outlining the potential costs and benefits of its MTD systems.