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HMRC makes further commitments on powers and safeguards

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HMRC has published a report evaluating how powers, obligations and safeguards, introduced since 2012 to enable it to administer the tax system, have been implemented and operated. The report is the culmination of work which HMRC undertook with representative bodies.

HMRC has made a number of commitments to address the findings of the report and which aim to provide an improved experience for taxpayers, and support the government’s vision for a trusted, modern tax administration system.

Those commitments include the following:

  • to consider what further work on powers and safeguards should be taken forward as part of the review of the tax administration framework announced in July 2020;
  • to improve HMRC’s methods of communication (including compliance communications), using data to reach the right audiences, and deepening partnerships with voluntary and community organisations to help raise awareness of tax obligations;
  • to make guidance as useful and accessible as possible, including a review of guidance on reasonable excuse;
  • to review how best to clarify the scope of multinational enterprises’ obligations to publish their tax strategies;
  • to raise awareness of the HMRC charter, engage with voluntary and community sector organisations and others to provide support for individuals who need extra help during enquiries, and to ensure that HMRC’s officers have the resources, skills and capability to deliver the standards set out in the charter;
  • to examine how improving awareness around internal governance processes could promote public trust in decisions to apply the GAAR, accelerated payment notices (APNs), follower notices (FNs) and the powers underpinning the diverted profits tax;
  • to consult taxpayers and agents on how to improve awareness and uptake of the statutory review process;
  • to update guidance on FNs, APNs and the requirement to correct offshore non-compliance, and to consider guidance updates on the coding out of debt (through the PAYE system) and simple assessment, by summer 2021.
  • to explore opportunities to help raise taxpayers’ awareness of their rights as well as their obligations when paying tax debt through a time to pay arrangement, and to consider how powers to recoup debt, especially the power to code out debt, could be used more widely to support those in financial hardship; and
  • to host a roundtable meeting to discuss opportunities to improve taxpayers’ experiences where they correct their tax through the worldwide disclosure facility.

Law Society of England and Wales president David Greene said he was encouraged by both the collaborative approach HMRC had taken and the direction of travel. ‘We welcome HMRC’s commitments to support those taxpayers who need extra help, as well as to support voluntary and community organisations to help raise awareness of tax obligations amongst harder to reach taxpayer groups.

‘There are also helpful commitments to improve some important aspects of HMRC’s guidance and to explore new and innovative communications approaches,’ Greene said. ‘The report recognises that there is still work to be done, and we look forward to engaging further with HMRC as the recommendations and commitments in the report are picked up.’

Issue: 1519
Categories: News