HMRC Told To Improve Complaints Procedure

It has been quite a week for payroll news this week, kicking off with the fact that HM Revenue and Customs had a number of their complaint cases looked at and they were upheld. In fact of all the complaints that were looked at, 9 out of every 10 were upheld. This has resulted in nearly £4Million owed in taxes being written off.

Between March 2012 and March 2013 the watchdog organisation received 2,311 complaints regarding their tax amount. These are all cases that have already been seen and reviewed by HMRC on two assessments before this. Unfortunately for the HMRC the watchdog ruled in favour of the complaint maker in 2073 cases.

On top of this the independent adjudicators looking into this ruled that the HMRC should pay out £143,00 for poor complaints handling and another £104,000 for worry and distress caused due to the bad handling of the complaints made.

What The Report Found

Adjudicator Judy Clements in charge of the case said that staff at the HMRC weren’t offering the level of customer service that should be expected when customers call up for help and advice. They said that the HMRC risked  “being left behind in their understanding of complaints and customer service”  and that there seemed to be “no sense of urgency when making decisions on customer issues”.

She said that this whole situation was disappointing and not good enough when it comes to dealing with complaints of this nature especially when many people calling in would be considered vulnerable and should expect more support.

Moving Forward

When she looked into the complaint cases and what had happened she found that many of the complaint cases could have been handled a lot quicker by the HMRC and resolved without the need to go as far down the complaints procedure. She also mentioned that some of the examples where people were appealing or complaining were for low amounts and it was perhaps not needed to go as far as it did. Out of all of the cases she looked at, she found really that only 2 complaints handled by the HMRC were done up to standard and the rest could have been handled at least partly differently.

According to Edward Troup, HMRC’s second permanent sectary the HMRC are developing a new way to deal with complaints and appeals which they feel will give the customer a much better experience. He said that there were many improvements planned in the companies complaints handling procedure including a new threefold procedure and the Adjudicator office being seen as a very last resort.

When you consider that 90% of the appeals made were upheld it is plain to see that the HMRC handling their complains better is something that is definitely needed. With them getting in around £4 Million less than expected with payments due to these appeals, that is definitely something that they will want to avoid in the future.