Ipsos MORI are looking for agents to participate in research on powers and safeguards for HMRC

21 February 2020

The interview will cover agents’ experiences of dealing with HMRC when representing these clients. Findings will contribute to an HMRC evaluation of powers introduced since 2012.

If you have represented at least one client who has been served with a notice under the APN, FN or GAAR – and are willing to participate in a phone interview lasting 45-60 minutes in late February or March – please contact Ipsos MORI directly at [email protected].

Those selected for an interview will receive £150 from Ipsos MORI in recognition of their time. Please note, HMRC cannot guarantee everyone expressing interest will be contacted for interview.

Further information

Why is this research being conducted?

In 2018, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee (LEAC) published a report – Treating Taxpayers Fairly – raising concerns that HMRC was prioritising tax collection over ensuring fair outcomes for our customers].

The government responded to accepting most of LEAC’s recommendations to increase public confidence in HMRC’s operations. In July, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (FST) issued a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) announcing that HMRC would:

  • Evaluate the implementation of the powers introduced since 2012, considering the powers and safeguards principles whilst engaging with external stakeholders. The findings will be published later this year

The scope of the evaluation will only cover the implementation of the powers – which are Accelerated Payment Notices (APN), Follower Notices (FN) and the General Anti Abuse Rules (GAAR) as opposed to the policy itself.  

As part of the evaluation, HMRC has commissioned Ipsos MORI to interview tax agents who have represented at least one taxpayer subject to either an FN, APN or GAAR notice. The experience you have of dealing with HMRC on these issues is not restricted to the last couple of months. HMRC will be interested to hear from agents who have experience from when the power was introduced in particular if changes have been made by HMRC to make the process much easier for taxpayers and/or their agents.

What happens with the information I have provided?

Ipsos MORI will not share details of agents who participate in the research with HMRC to ensure they remain anonymous, which is why HMRC are asking you to contact Ipsos MORI directly to register your interest in participating.

The interviewer will ask general questions about your dealings with HMRC under the powers, and will not ask you to disclose the identities of any taxpayers you have represented. An anonymised report of the research will be published on GOV.UK later in 2020 as part of the evaluation of the powers.

Once the research is complete, Ipsos MORI will securely delete all information collected for the project including interview transcripts and participants’ contact details.

Q: If I volunteer am I guaranteed a place on the research?

We are unable to guarantee that if you do volunteer that you will be selected. Ipsos MORI may conduct a short ‘screening’ interview with those expressing an interest in participating to check their eligibility to participate, before offering a full interview and £150 reimbursement for their time.

HMRC contact for the research

If you wish to volunteer to participate in the research, please contact Ipsos MORI directly at [email protected]. However, if you have any further questions about the research, please contact [email protected].