Investment in HMRC should not leave agents behind says CIOT

3 Mar 2021

The Chartered Institute of Taxation has welcomed today’s announcement of a further £180 million investment in 2021-22 for additional resources and new technology for HMRC, but urges HMRC to ensure that represented taxpayers are not left behind.

CIOT Head of Tax Technical, Richard Wild, said:

“We are pleased to see significant additional investment in HMRC. Whilst only part of this relates to HMRC’s IT systems,1 it is vital that these service improvements apply to both taxpayers themselves and their authorised agents.

“It is a commitment within HMRC’s Charter2 that a taxpayer can appoint someone to represent them. However, on too many occasions – including recent measures such as the Trust Registration Service and the 30-day CGT reporting service – this is made incredibly onerous as the result of a combination of factors such as the agent authorisation process and the accessibility of taxpayer data within HMRC’s systems.

“We question the net benefit of developing standalone systems that operate independently of mainstream systems such as the personal tax account and the agent services account especially where they require their own separate agent authorisation process.

“Agents play a key role in ensuring compliance with a complex tax system. More revenue is lost to error and mistakes than to deliberate non-compliance. Employing an agent is one action taxpayers can take to make it more likely they get their taxes right.

“We urge HMRC to use this funding not only to iron out some of the glitches in existing systems, but to develop processes that work smoothly and effectively for both taxpayers and their agents.”

Notes 

1. Today’s announcement is forecast to bring in over £1.6 billion of additional tax revenues between now and 2025-26 by enabling HMRC to:

  • invest in IT systems to enable taxpayers to more easily access tax services and update customer accounts digitally and make the collection of tax and payments to taxpayers easier
  • recruit additional compliance staff to increase its ability to target non-compliance through illicit financial flows
  • carry out initial design and development of Digitalising Business Rates to help modernise the business rates system in England and support more effective analysis and oversight of the collection of the tax
  • continue to fund compliance work on the loan charge, historic disguised remuneration cases and early intervention to encourage individuals to exit tax avoidance schemes.

2. See The HMRC Charter - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).