Plans unveiled by Revenue and Customs to axe 13 enquiry centres across Yorkshire and the North East is set to lead to in a drop in the amount of money collected, according to regional tax expert Andy Maxfield.
“While closing the enquiry centres appears to be an easy way for HMRC to save administration costs, we can see a number of potential problems with its plans which could not only reduce support for customers, but also fail to provide cost efficiencies,” said Mr Maxfield, who is a senior manager in Grant Thornton’s Yorkshire tax investigations team.
“Despite the promise of a more specialised phone service for customers and face-to-face meetings with mobile advisers if needed, the new service poses a number of questions.
“In our experience, there is a lot to be said for sitting down with a person and explaining a problem, particularly in relation to a complex area such as tax - it’s simply not as easy to find answers over the internet or on the phone.”
Mr Maxfield asks how un-represented taxpayers will obtain advice, how HMRC will deal with increases in queries from tax payers immediately before returns are to be filed and how it will cater for blind, disabled and non-native tax payers.
HMRC is closing its 13 enquiry centres in Yorkshire and the North East as part of a five-month pilot programme and could close all 281 centres across the UK, putting 1,300 jobs at risk, in a bid to make a saving of £13 million.