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Progress of HMRC service initiative 'encouraging'

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HMRC has published on its website details of progress made on the joint initiative with agents to improve the department’s service delivery standards. Progress to date is said to include: improvements to the P35 end-of-year return process for 2011/12 and 2012/13, with the aim of increasing the number of returns filed on time and reducing the number (and size) of penalties issued; publication of HMRC contact centre performance statistics; and an additional £34m investment in contact centres, which (combined with an increase in more flexible deployment of staff to meet customer demand) has reportedly significantly improved performance.

Paul Aplin, chairman of the ICAEW Tax Faculty Technical Committee, observed: ‘The fact that HMRC’s Mike Clasper was willing to engage on nuts and bolts service issues and that Lin Homer has been equally willing to do so has been fundamental to the success of this initiative. They have brought HMRC’s leadership team with them. We now have a list of very real “wins” on things that really make a difference to employers and taxpayers generally. There is a lot more to do but progress to date is very encouraging.’