Citizens to get online system for HMRC complaints
Department is to roll out ‘email or another form of secure digital channel’ to allow to the public to contact independent review entity
Credit: PXhere/Public Domain
Citizens are to be given a digital method to take complaints about HM Revenue and Customs to the government’s independent arbiter.
The Adjudicator’s Office offers external review if citizens are not happy with the handling of complaints made about HMRC or the Valuation Office Agency. Currently, the only means of contacting the office are via phone, post, or fax.
This month Nicky Morgan, the chair of the Commons Treasury Committee, wrote to HMRC to “express the committee’s astonishment that the public are unable to contact the AO by email”.
- HMRC staff behaviour in tax inquiries ‘falls below expected standards’, say peers
- HMRC defends ‘rigorous’ behaviour standards after criticism of officers
- HMRC under fire as it fails to answer 10% of calls to tax helpline
The department’s deputy chief executive and second permanent secretary Jim Harra has now responded – and confirmed that HMRC will offer citizens a digital method of escalating their complaints.
“HMRC agrees that a channel should be found to allow members of the public to contact the Adjudicator’s Office by email or through another form of secure digital channel,” he said. “Following prioritisation over the last year of EU exit preparations, and now that Office 365 has been fully rolled out within HMRC, this change is now in the IT programme for the current financial year. Work is underway to scope the requirements. Our aim is to deliver the change by the autumn, and potentially sooner if that proves feasible.”
Morgan welcomed the news.
“The AO plays a valuable role in resolving complaints against HMRC, yet many people are unaware of its existence. And of those people who are aware, it can be a struggle for them to get in touch with the AO,” she said. “As the Adjudicator told the committee, the lack of digital access to the AO’s service is not defendable.
“Public-facing services simply have to be digitally accessible these days. Whilst it is astonishing in this day and age to say this, HMRC’s long-overdue commitment to provide a digital channel for the public to contact the AO is welcome.”
Labour leader tells MPs cabinet secretary’s written response to query should inform plans for...
Three weeks into his cabinet career, Commons leader says he ‘previously thought only corporate...
Department seeks leaders in the areas of digital enablement and cyber risk
Health department tells social care providers to brace for no-deal Brexit delays to medicine deliveries
Providers told supplies could take up to five days to deliver – up from three days set out...
BT takes a look at the shifting nature of cyber threats, and how organisations can detect and...
Microsoft shows a few of the ways that governments can turn data into insight
With the ‘low-hanging fruit’ exhausted, the public sector must approach new government saving...
TCS is keen to contribute to the topic of successful partnerships between the public and private...