Tell ABAB report 2015-16

14 March 2016

Administrative Burdens Advisory Board (ABAB) report shows how they have challenged HMRC on the issues currently causing small businesses problems.

ABAB’s goal is to make a noticeable difference for small business by supporting HM Revenue and Customs to help make tax easier, quicker and simpler.

The review of the Tell ABAB report – 2015 to 2016 many common themes, consistent with last year’s feedback.


You want your tax affairs to be all in one place and for HMRC ‘departments’ to be much more joined-up. There is also a need to only receive what is relevant to you targeted to your specific business/circumstances.


Those of you who are online want to do more online and have suggested ways to make specific tasks easier.

Communication & Contacting HMRC

You want improvements to HMRC’s channels of communication. You are particularly dissatisfied with the telephone service provided. Response times are far too slow and when finally speaking to an advisor you often felt frustrated at the lack of understanding of your previous contacts or felt that your time was being wasted by being transferred around between departments.

HMRC Attitude and Approach to Small Businesses

You want HMRC to better understand the day to day pressures you face running your small business and to have more empathy when dealing with you.

Policy & Legislation

You want Government policies and legislation to be modernised and simplified, recognising the needs of small business so to encourage innovation and growth.

Processes & Systems

You want clearer guidance and greater consistency across specific services such as VAT, CIS.

Payments & Refunds

You want the mechanisms and policies for payments and refunds to work better for you and your business.

General Admin Burdens

You want to spend less time on tax administration and to have greater consistency across different taxes to reduce the burden in running your business.

Working with Agents

You want agents to be able to deal with HMRC on behalf of your business more easily.

CIPP comment

In response to telephone service issues, the report says that HMRC accept that service levels have not been good enough for many of you at busy periods during 2015/16, but they have taken major steps to improve including the recruitment of 3,000 new staff into customer service roles. 2015 saw their biggest-ever training programme as they build customer support teams that can move across a wide range of work according to demand.

The CIPP Policy Team want to assess the impact of these improvements and have a survey running which is looking to identify whether member experiences and views have changed since our previous survey in September 2015. Please take a few minutes to share your views.