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HMRC takes to tweeting

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HM Revenue and Customs is ‘trialling’ the use of Twitter in the run up to the tax return deadline on 31 January.

The department began tweeting at on 21 December and its Twitter page already has more than 500 followers. ‘You can expect 1-2 tweets each day covering information about HMRC and tax, including news, publications, web content, consultations, speeches and publicity campaigns,’ HMRC said.

‘This is an excellent way for agents to find out quickly and easily what is going on at HMRC,’ said Dave Hartnett, HMRC’s Permanent Secretary for tax.

Most of the 17 tweets to date relate to the tax return filing deadline, with several linking to the same HMRC web page providing basic information on self assessment.

HMRC added: ‘We welcome feedback and ideas from our followers and will endeavour to add value to conversations where we can. We will read all @replies and ensure that any emerging themes or helpful suggestions are passed to the relevant people in HMRC. However, due to resource constraints we will not always be able to reply individually to all the messages we receive via Twitter.

‘In general we prefer not to send or receive direct messages, to keep conversations open and public. We will not engage on issues of party politics, government policy or respond to anything that breaks the rules on taxpayer confidentiality.’

A ‘Twitter policy’ statement points out that HMRC cannot discuss the tax affairs of individual taxpayers on Twitter, adding that ‘we cannot accept tweets as notification in respect of your tax affairs.’

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