As the National Audit Office releases its report on HMRC customer service, which shows call waiting times have increased by over 350% in the past five years, RSM UK is calling on the government to prioritise further investment.

The leading audit, tax and consulting firm would also like to see HMRC given ministerial department status to improve services and increase productivity.

Commenting on this, RSM UK employment tax partner, Susan Ball, said: “While we welcome the government’s £51 million investment in HMRC service levels, the National Audit Office report lays bare the significant drop in customer service levels. It begs the question is the £51 million investment already promised going to be enough to make the significant improvements necessary? It’s likely to take some time for performance levels to shift, as new staff will need significant training to navigate and advise on our complex tax system.

“With around 34 million taxpaying individuals, and over 5 million businesses relying on HMRC for advice and support, the current lengthy wait times are not just an inconvenience for taxpayers. They are a drain on UK productivity, preventing tax advisers from supporting clients, and hampering business productivity. It may be time for the government to consider making HMRC a ministerial department, so it has the proper investment, oversight and focus needed to support taxpayers properly.”

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