07 August 2023

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has now published the ‘HMRC quarterly performance report: April to June 2023’. This report provides details of HMRC's quarterly performance against the department's priority objectives for quarter one of reporting year 2023/24.

Below are some of the summary points outlined in the report:

  • in 2022 to 2023 HMRC generated £814 billion in tax revenue – an increase of 11.3% on last year
  • HMRC achieved a long-term reduction in the UK’s tax gap from 7.5% in 2005/06 to 4.8% in 2021/22. It costs HMRC half a penny to collect every pound of tax revenue
  • in 2022 to 2023, HMRC’s compliance work protected £34 billion of tax revenue that would otherwise have been lost to the Exchequer through error, fraud and other forms of non-compliance
  • customer service levels on phones and post haven’t been where HMRC want them to be. HMRC recognise the real difficulties this has caused some customers and agents. A range of factors, from the impact of higher inflation on resources to an increase in customers with more complex tax affairs, are making it harder to meet service standards using the same approaches that may have worked in the past
  • reducing demand for traditional contact channels and moving an ever-increasing number of customers onto digital services so that those who are able to, can manage their tax affairs quickly and easily online and get their tax right from the outset, without needing to contact HMRC
  • digital services are available 24/7, so customers can access at their convenience and satisfaction with them was 82.7% in the last financial year. HMRC is continuing to improve them – adding new features all the time, prioritising the most impactful changes that give customers a better experience and represent the most value for money for the taxpayer
  • moving more customers onto digital services will allow HMRC to focus adviser-led services, such as phone lines, on providing specialist support for those who have complex circumstances, need extra help, or are unable to engage with us digitally

HMRC said:

‘‘While increasing numbers of customers are using our digital channels to resolve their tax affairs, we recognise that some still need direct support through services like phone or post. Our customer service levels in these areas haven’t been where we want them to be. We recognise the real difficulties this has caused some customers and agents.

Our customer base is growing, with more customers having increasingly complex needs. For example, the number of higher rate taxpayers – who may need more active management in the system – increased by 17% between financial years 2015 to 2016 and 2022 to 2023 and is likely to grow further. We’re also seeing more small business customers getting into tax debt, and the average value of customers’ debts increasing.

In addition, high levels of inflation have put pressure on our available resources. Put simply, it’s getting harder to meet our service standards using the same approaches that may have worked in the past.’’

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