HMRC - Customer Satisfaction?

In this latest tax news we examine how HMRC Customer Satisfaction Survey indicates a mix of satisfaction and frustration.

Recently, Her Majesty Revenues and Customs (HMRC) carried out its 2015 survey to assess whether its customers are satisfied by HMRC's services. A random sample of three main user groups of HMRC -- accountants, small-and-medium businesses (SMEs including contractors) and general taxpayers -- were asked to give feedback on certain key parameters. To carry out this survey, HMRC had appointed TNS BMRB, an independent social research organization.

Positives of the HMRC survey

As per the HMRC customer satisfaction survey, the vast majority of users in all three categories believe HMRC is trustworthy. Among the accountants surveyed, a healthy 65 percent trust the HMRC as opposed to 61 percent last year. Within the SMEs, 79 percent find the HMRC as trustworthy against 74 percent last year. Moreover, among general taxpayers, HMRC's trustworthiness remains high at 73 percent, unchanged from last year.

Also, this year, fewer people perceive that HMRC is good at collecting taxes but slow in giving refunds. Last year 59% of individuals and 41% of SMEs had a negative perception in this area. This year, only 41% of individuals and 36% of SMEs believe that HMRC is good at taking money, but bad at paying back. This is also a positive trend.

Negatives of the HMRC survey

One of the key areas of dissatisfaction is the ability to connect with HMRC. As per the SMEs who were surveyed 70% believed that it is easy to get in touch with the HMRC. When compared to 2009-10 levels, this is a decline when 80% of SMEs were positive about the ability to connect with the HMRC. The percentage was worse among general taxpayers, with only 63% finding HMRC easy-to-connect.

Another key weakness area is receiving timely updates from HMRC. Only 51% of accountants are happy with the timeliness of the information from HMRC; this figure is much lower than the already-low 63% in 2009.

Overall, communication remains a major challenge area when it comes dealing with HMRC. A bright light for users is that HMRC has set high targets for improving inbound communication. By March 2015, HMRC plans to respond to 90% of phone calls and 80% of letters in less than 15 working days.