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HMRC to close contact centres across the UK

Tax institutes are expressing concerns over plans from HM Revenue and Customs to close around 280 of its contact centres, in an attempt to cut down on its expenditure.

Taxpayers will undoubtedly be asking their accountant in Spital, or wherever they live and work from, more questions regarding tax issues when the contact centres are no longer available to them.

The move is set to get underway with 13 North-East centres seeing closure. This will be followed by the introduction of a mobile consultation service, whereby HMRC will integrate a flexi-telephone service. As part of this idea, visiting slots will be made available to members of the public via a number of appropriate locations, including homes and business premises.

Both ICAEW and CIoT have expressed their support of a HMRC with more efficiency but they also feel disappointed that consultation responses have a deadline so near to the beginning of the initial closures. This means that there may be inadequate time to integrate feedback into any new model.

A Public and Commercial Services Union statement read:

“As a result of the closures it is likely that you will only be able to talk to HMRC staff face-to-face in extreme circumstances. The government’s plans to shut the network will disproportionately affect minorities and vulnerable groups.”

It is expected that the closures will affect 1,300 workers, although many of the employees will likely be utilised elsewhere. HMRC said that taxpayers will save somewhere in the region of £12 million in travel costs and time, also claiming that £13 million will be saved in running the service more cost-efficiently.

Posted by Louise
June 5, 2013

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