20 July 2023

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has now published the ‘HMRC Stakeholder Research 2023’. This report describes the main findings from HMRC's annual stakeholder research.

HMRC uses the results of the stakeholder engagement research to help understand the views of its main stakeholders and inform future engagement and communications with these groups.

The report examines their:

  • general perceptions of HMRC, including favourability and advocacy
  • awareness of HMRC and knowledge about its remit, vision and priorities
  • perceptions of HMRC’s performance
  • views of HMRC’s engagement with stakeholders.

This report presents the results from the annual survey from 2023. The findings showed that stakeholders were largely positive regarding HMRC. Most had a favourable opinion of the department, agreed it was an organisation they could trust and agreed it was competent. Amongst these stakeholders, HMRC was both better understood and more likely to be viewed favourably than comparator organisations such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Home Office and Ministry of Justice.

Most stakeholders described themselves as ‘critical friends’ of HMRC and stakeholders often interpreted the term as wanting to work collaboratively and positively with the department to help it improve. HMRC’s perceived performance as the UK’s tax authority and the extent to which the department could be relied upon to look after customers’ interests were the next most important drivers of favourable opinions.

In addition to this, the majority of stakeholders believed that overall HMRC carried out its duties professionally and that it was competent. Most stakeholders also perceived HMRC to be performing well as the UK’s tax authority – a key driver of favourable opinions. However, HMRC’s customer service was a concern for many stakeholders and most rated HMRC’s performance for ‘improving customer service’ to be poor. Common criticisms focused on slow response times, difficulty contacting HMRC by telephone and difficulty accessing the right people at the department.

HMRC’s delivery and improvement of digital services received a mixed reception. Stakeholder groups supported the introduction and expansion of digital tax services, but there were concerns regarding HMRC’s delivery. Some frustration was linked with perceived technical problems and poor guidance.

It was also reported that most stakeholders were satisfied with their working relationship with HMRC. Stakeholders suggested that HMRC could focus on further improving stakeholder engagement by ensuring that stakeholders feel involved in consultative processes at an early stage, by increasing transparency and facilitating two-way dialogue, and by working to improve the consistency of some of its engagement channels.

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