Category Archives: Tax

HURST expands with new private client tax service

Independent accounting and business advisory firm HURST has launched a private client tax service to enhance its offering to business owners, entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals.

Karen Chadwick, who has 30 years’ experience in the field, has joined HURST as a partner to lead the new offering.

She has moved from Azets, where she was a tax partner. She previously worked at firms including Deloitte, KPMG and CLB Coopers.

During her career, Karen has gained a wealth of personal and trust tax compliance and advisory experience and technical knowledge, particularly in the areas of trusts and inheritance tax.

She said: “HURST is on an impressive and ambitious growth trajectory, as a strong, independent north west accountancy firm whose team delivers a first-class service to a varied client base as well as contacts and intermediaries, backed by a strong, cohesive and close-knit management team.

“The partners have recognised there is a need and demand within the firm’s tax service line for a dedicated private client tax offering, and I am thrilled to take up the opportunity to lead it.

“I’m excited to be part of the firm’s journey and to complement the existing partner group and HURST’s skilled and ambitious team to assist with the future development and growth of the practice.

“I look forward to applying my experience and technical knowledge to help clients achieve their personal and family wealth objectives now and in the future.”

HURST’s managing partner Tim Potter said: ““As the firm cements its position as the number one independent north west firm working with owner-managed businesses in the £5m-£100m turnover space, we have taken the decision to enhance our offering with a new service to support our high net worth clients with inheritance tax, trusts and complex personal tax matters.

“This is an exciting development for HURST and we are delighted to welcome Karen to the fold. We expect her vast experience and knowledge to be in high demand from our enviable client base of high net worth individuals.”

HURST focuses on advising entrepreneurial owner-managed businesses across all sectors. Clients include Kinaxia Logistics, M&I Materials, Beechfield Brands, Duerr’s, Oliver Valves, Lancashire County Cricket Club, Krones UK, Creamline Dairies, Scapa Group and Hyde Group.

The firm recently moved its head office to a new flagship development in Stockport to accommodate its growing team, taking 11,000sq ft at 3 Stockport Exchange, the latest phase of a £145m project by Muse Developments and Stockport Council.

HURST had been based since 1996 in Tiviot Dale in Stockport town centre, but outgrew the premises. The firm aims to grow from 120 staff to around 170 over the next three years.

The Spring Budget 2024 sees tax cuts and a continued push to unlock pension investment potential

In this year’s Spring Budget, the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt focused on tax cuts made possible through reported progress in the UK economy and to encourage growth in the next few years.

Where pensions are concerned, the Chancellor reiterated messaging over the last few months from the Mansion House reforms and Autumn Statement on targeting value for money for pension scheme members and encouraging pension funds to drive further growth in the UK economy.

Reduction in National Insurance contributions

The government announced plans today to reduce the basic employee rate of National Insurance contributions (affecting approximately 27 million people) from 10% to 8% with effect from 6 April 2024; a further decrease from the recent shift on 1 January 2024 from 12% to 10% and the lowest the rate has been set since the early 1980s.

From an employee benefits angle, this will make salary sacrifice arrangements (where employees can make National Insurance savings on certain benefits) a little less attractive for employees.

Simon Hubbard, a Principal Consultant at Quantum Advisory, said:

“Further reductions in National Insurance contribution rates will be welcomed by many. The change, at face value, indirectly makes saving into a pension less attractive for employees where contributions are paid before the deduction of tax and National Insurance through an arrangement known as salary sacrifice. This change reduces the National Insurance that employees save by using such an approach. 

“These tax cuts must be viewed alongside the freeze on income tax thresholds until 2027. Given this, we expect that salary sacrifice arrangements will remain the most efficient way for employees to pay their pension contributions and there is no impact on the National Insurance savings made by the employer.

“Cuts in National Insurance will only benefit income earned through work, so pensioners will not benefit in the same way that employees do.”

Disclosure and value for money for DC Schemes and LGPS arrangements

The government reiterated planned changes in disclosure requirements for defined contribution (DC) pension funds, such that funds will need to publicly state their level of UK investment and compare their performance level against other schemes (at least £10bn in size).

Where it is determined that schemes are providing relatively poor returns for members compared to that provided elsewhere, schemes may not be allowed to take on new members.

There will separately be revised reporting guidance for Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Funds from April 2024, such that a summary of asset allocation, including UK equity investment, as well as providing greater clarity on pooling will need to be disclosed.

Simon Hubbard, a Principal Consultant at Quantum Advisory, said:

“The announcement from the government will help concentrate DC pension funds on delivering the best returns for members whilst encouraging further investment in the UK economy. We welcome the aim to target good investment returns for every member. Careful consideration will need to be given in the coming months on how to encourage this for DC schemes whilst allowing funds to invest in long-term growth assets that may be volatile in the short-term.  

Abolition of the Lifetime Allowance

The Lifetime allowance (LTA) is being removed from 6 April 2024 following the Spring Budget announcement last year; a move that is hoped to alleviate pressure on the NHS as well as other industries to prevent early retirements from experienced individuals.

HMRC have since referenced that there will continue to be a fixed cap on tax-free cash sums of £268,275 (25% of the current LTA) and a fixed cap of £1,073,100 (the current LTA) on the total tax-free cash sums that can be paid to an individual.

Simon Hubbard, a Principal Consultant at Quantum Advisory, said:

“The abolition of the LTA will, as a whole, simplify the pensions industry and encourage more to save for retirement and work for longer. It remains to be seen whether this policy will change if there was a new government following the imminent General Election given the Labour party’s opposition to the abolition of the LTA.”

State Pension

The government has committed to applying the triple lock to the State Pension for 2024-2025, such that it will increase from £10,600.20 pa to £11,502.40 pa.

Simon Hubbard, a Principal Consultant at Quantum Advisory, said:

“The triple lock guarantee for 2024/25 (which the Labour Party has also committed to retaining) will ease pensioner fears, particularly given the recent years of high inflation. Whilst this news will be welcomed, wider issues remain with the functionality of the State Pension, which is becoming increasingly more expensive in real terms due to current birth / death rates. We expect there will be further discussions around the State Pension following the election.”

Pension ‘Pot for Life’

The government is continuing to consult on plans to allow individuals to choose one provider to hold their pension pot throughout their life; aiming to improve outcomes for savers as well as convenience of access.

Simon Hubbard, a Principal Consultant at Quantum Advisory, said:

“We look forward to the government providing further detail on the lifetime provider model they have set out, noting that challenges with economies of scale will need to be carefully managed.  This will help people who change jobs frequently or who have multiple jobs at any one time, because under the current system some workers can end up with a large number of small pensions which can be difficult to manage and to keep track of.”


The government announced the launch of a new British ISA which will allow individuals to invest £5,000 tax-free cash per year in UK assets in addition to the current ISA allowance of £20,000. The government intends this to help the UK economy grow.

About Quantum Advisory

Established in 2000, we are an independent, owner-managed actuarial and employee benefits consultancy that provides straight-talking, no-nonsense advice to employers and pension scheme trustees.  We design, maintain and review pension schemes and related employee benefits so that they operate efficiently and effectively.  We also help communicate these benefits in a straightforward way so that employees understand their real value.


Simon Hubbard

Principal Consultant

Quantum Advisory

Kilsby Williams appoints directors in new year promotions

Tax and accountancy specialist Kilsby Williams has announced a trio of senior level promotions to start the new year.

The Newport-based business, which is the largest independent firm in the region, has promoted three employees to director roles within its tax and business services teams.

Lucy Creese and Kaye Morris have been promoted to director in the tax team, while Zak Wright has been promoted to director in the business services team.

Lucy and Kaye are both experienced corporation tax and company tax specialists, regularly undertaking compliance and tax planning work for a variety of clients including SMEs.

Zak has qualified as a Chartered Accountant since joining the firm nine years ago and has honed his skills in the provision of statutory financial audits, accounts and due diligence work.

The newly promoted directors will lead a growing team at Kilsby Williams, delivering astute accountancy, business and tax advice and identifying key planning opportunities for a diverse range of clients.

Simon Tee, managing partner at Kilsby Williams, said: “We are delighted to announce these senior promotions as we start the new year.

“We firmly believe in supporting the professional development of our employees and rewarding their hard work. With their technical expertise and dedication to providing the best possible service for our clients, Lucy, Kaye and Zak have all made a significant contribution to our firm’s success. I look forward to seeing them thrive in their new roles.”

Established in 1991, Kilsby Williams works with clients from across south Wales, the Midlands and London, ranging from sole traders to companies in international quoted groups.

GS Verde Group bolsters senior team with appointment of new tax director

GS Verde Group, the award-winning corporate advisory firm, has appointed a new Tax Director, Emma Jones. This strategic move further strengthens the company’s leadership team and solidifies its commitment to providing clients with comprehensive tax advisory services as part of its ambitious plans for 2024.

Emma’s appointment follows a period of significant growth for GS Verde Group, marked by its recent admission to the JP Jenkins share-dealing platform and the appointment of a new non-executive director in January 2024. Her expertise will be instrumental in steering the Group’s tax team under the leadership of Joel Dunning, Head of GS Verde Tax & Accountants.

Emma brings 22 years of experience as a corporate tax adviser. Before joining GS Verde Group, Emma began her career in accountancy before specialising in tax as part of Azets where she held a senior position as Tax Associate Director covering personal and corporate compliance, as well as advisory in employee share schemes, EIS, tax clearance, and tax planning.

We are thrilled to welcome Emma to GS Verde Group,” said Joel Dunning, Head of GS Verde Tax & Accountants. “Her proven track record and specialist knowledge of the tax landscape will be invaluable as we continue to expand our tax offering and support our clients through complex transactions. Emma will be leading our specialist tax team as we continue to develop and expand it in the coming months.

Beyond the boost of recruiting top talent to the business, Emma’s appointment as Tax Director signals the next stepping stone in GS Verde Group’s bold ambitions for 2024; a key investment in expertise that empowers their multidiscipline team to tackle increasingly large and complex transactions. This sets the stage for the new tax team which will allow GS Verde Group to capture an even larger share of the market and solidify its position as a leading multidiscipline powerhouse in the M&A landscape.

Regarding her appointment, Emma said “I am excited to join GS Verde Group at this pivotal time of growth.The company’s innovative, multidiscipline approach to deal-making perfectly aligns with my own values, and I look forward to lending my experience to the Group, identifying efficiency opportunities, and developing the team to deliver exceptional tax solutions to our clients.”

3 in 5 UK Businesses Avoid International Expansion Due to US Sales Tax Complexity

  • 60% of UK businesses have decided not to expand into the US because of sales tax complexity
  • While 80% of UK business leaders believe that tax complexity is one of the greatest burdens facing their organisation.
  • This ongoing tax complexity struggle for UK businesses comes on the eve of the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, where the transatlantic relationship between Britain and the US came to a head over the taxation of tea.

Avalara, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based tax compliance automation for businesses of all sizes, today released findings from a new survey* of UK-based businesses around the complexity of US sales tax. The survey found that sales tax complexity is hampering British businesses expanding into the US, with 60% of UK business leaders deciding not to expand into a new market or sell a new product in the US due to the complexity of dealing with additional compliance.

“International sales tax complexity continues to stump UK businesses and is causing many to hold on plans to sell their goods and services into the US, which is hurting the economy on both sides of the pond,” said Alex Baulf, Vice President of Global Indirect Tax at Avalara. “Thankfully there is a solution that does not involve throwing tea or other goods into the Thames.  UK businesses can save time and money by turning to automated tax and compliance solutions like Avalara that are designed to streamline tax calculations, tax filing, and tax record management – removing international sales tax complexities and freeing up time for growth and expansion.”


Sales tax is curbing UK business growth

The 16th of December marks 250 years since the Boston Tea Party took place, where the transatlantic relationship between Britain and the US came to a head over the taxation of tea. Hundreds of years later, sales tax complexity continues to put a strain on UK businesses expanding operations to the US. In fact,  65% of UK tea merchants reveal that — in a post-Brexit environment — US sales tax is harder to navigate than selling into Europe. This is despite 9 in 10 UK business leaders seeing the US as a key market for their operations.

Complexity is costing UK businesses time and money

Failing to keep up with the complexity of sales tax, over a third (36%) of UK business leaders have faced fines or penalties due to unintentional non-compliance with sales tax obligations. As a result, a third (33%) have paid up to £1,000 in fines in the last 12 months.

Tax complexity as a whole is costing businesses time. Over a third (35%) of UK business leaders spend up to 10 hours per month on tax compliance on average. As a result, 8 in 10 (83%) UK business leaders argue that sales tax complexity has become one of the greatest burdens facing their business. In fact, three quarters (76%) of UK business leaders reveal that staying compliant with sales tax makes them anxious.

To help businesses calculate their sales tax and shoulder the administrative burden of staying compliant, 77% of UK business leaders say they’d lean on technology, such as AI, to reduce sales tax and cross border tax complexity.

To learn more about the impact of sales tax complexity on UK businesses, please click here.

About Avalara

Avalara makes tax compliance faster, easier, more accurate, and more reliable for 30,000+ business and government customers in over 90 countries. Tax compliance automation software solutions from Avalara leverage 1,200+ signed partner integrations across leading ecommerce, ERP, and other billing systems to power tax calculations, document management, tax return filing, and tax content access. Visit to improve your compliance journey.



Research was conducted by Censuswide by surveying 300 UK decision-makers in general businesses and retailers (in small to medium size companies i.e. up to 240 employees), who have a basic understanding of tax regulation and sell goods across the UK / globally between  Nov 9th – Nov 21st.


Research was conducted by Censuswide by surveying 102 UK decision-makers who say their company sells tea and sells products internationally between Nov 9th – Nov 21st.

Managing your tax accurately as a small business 

As the owner of a small business, you’ll know just how many challenges you face every day to stay afloat. There are so many different things to manage, customers to please and staff to pay, which is why it’s no surprise that 50% of small businesses fail within their first five years of operating.

One of the areas that can be particularly difficult to manage is tax and always remaining accurate with it. Tax can be a tricky thing to understand and doing it can feel like climbing a mountain if you lack experience or know-how. Incorrect tax reporting can be very problematic for the UK government with the tax gap sitting at 4.8% and one of the reasons for this is mistakes in small business tax returns.

That’s why we’ve put together a handy guide on several ways you can manage your tax more accurately and avoid any unnecessary penalties.

Research financial jargon

When dealing with tax, you might see a lot of words that you don’t understand. This can make navigating it all a bit harder and it may seem even more daunting. Take time to research any words that come up so you fully understand them before going any further.

Get all your tax records together 

If you can refer back to previous tax returns, then you can ensure your latest one is accurate. Without this information, you could accidentally leave deductions on the table or put yourself at risk of an audit.

Automate your process 

Don’t want to do everything by hand? There are plenty of tax automation tools that you can now implement for your business, which will take out the difficult bits you have to deal with. These will make it quick and reduce the risk of human errors too, meaning your accuracy should be higher.

Know when to ask externally 

If you’re struggling to deal with your taxes personally, then you can seek external help from professionals. These people will be able to either do your taxes themselves or offer training so you can eventually do it yourself.

Running a business means you face fresh challenges every day and staying on top of them isn’t always easier. Tax returns are one of the most important, however, so you must do all you can to stay on top of them and ensure you’re not putting your business at risk.




Trust, corruption and sustainable development are interconnected issues in public’s attitude towards tax

Accountants remain the most trusted players in tax according to the ACCA, IFAC and CA ANZ biennial global survey

The Public Trust in Tax survey which questioned 7,700 members of the public across the globe shows that accountants have a major role to play in addressing corruption, which negatively impact on attitudes towards tax in economies.

Results show that 53.8% consider corruption a major factor, however most people believe the role of professional accountants contributes to improving tax systems by making them more efficient (59%), more effective (57%), and fairer (55%).

The findings follow ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), IFAC (the International Federation of Accountants), and CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand) expanding their biennial G20 Public Trust in Tax survey – which this time omitted Russia and included New Zealand – to address not only corruption but also the issues of sustainable development and corruption, and how these two interconnect with trust in the tax system. The results are clear.

Corruption has a significant impact on attitudes towards tax in economies across the globe, with over half of G20 respondents citing it as a major factor.

At the same time, 68% of respondents in G20 countries see at least some connection between tax and sustainable development, and 57% would be prepared to pay more tax to support it.


In this context, the continued high levels of trust in professional accountants are more important than ever. The results shows that they remain the single most trusted stakeholder in tax in every G20 country, as it has been the case in every biennial G20 Public Trust in Tax survey since the initiative began in 2017.


Kevin Dancey, CEO of IFAC, says: “The impact of corruption on trust in tax has been an emerging theme in our recent surveys, particularly in our 2022 Global Perspectives report, which focuses on jurisdictions outside of the G20. Now, for the first time, we have specific data on that point, and the results are illuminating. Taken together with the continued trust in professional accountants, and additional new data on views about sustainable development, insight into the important interconnections between these issues is starting to come into view.”


Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA, says: “Throughout the course of these surveys, public unease about how tax moneys are spent has been a constant theme in respondents’ comments. Perceptions of corruption are a clear barrier to engagement with the tax system. Accountants have a central role to play in countering corruption, bringing transparency and accountability to the collection and spending of taxes across both public and private sectors.”


Ainslie van Onselen, CEO of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), says: “As leaders in the global accountancy profession, we are proud to see the sustained high levels of trust in professional accountants, which is hard won, but easily lost. It is vital that we constantly work to maintain and earn trust through both our individual and collective actions. Now, more than ever, the relationship between taxpayers, businesses and governments must be strengthened to provide security and certainty for our broader societies and economies and we look forward to continuing to engage with key stakeholders to drive trust in tax and trust in our profession.”


The survey reveals the attitudes and opinions of the general public towards their tax systems, and the actors involved in them. The key findings indicate that:


  • Trust in key stakeholders has improved in most regions, but there are still significant variations;
  • People see tax systems as a mechanism for positive change, but are concerned about corruption;
  • People generally think that levels of taxes paid are reasonable.


This year’s survey is launched on 14 September at an online event hosted by IFAC, ACCA and CA ANZ. Register here.


The study is based on an online survey, conducted in the second quarter of 2023, of more than 7,700 individuals across all the G20 countries apart from Russia, plus New Zealand. The sample in each country is balanced by demographics based on census data, including age (targeting individuals of taxpaying age), education, gender, ethnicity, household income levels, and geographic location within the country.

Read the report here.

As changes are announced to taxation, a leading provider of self assessment software discusses the latest updates from HMRC.

Written by Niamh Spence


The clock is ticking for businesses after HMRC recently announced several “simplifications” to reduce the number of taxpayers that are asked to file a Self Assessment Tax Return.  

There are clear benefits for HMRC from taking taxpayers out of Self Assessment, but what do these changes mean for the individuals affected, and their professional advisors? Will it become easier to determine and pay the correct tax liability?

APARI Pro, leading providers of an innovative, AI-powered, and HMRC-recognised tax return software, have commented on these changes, considering the contributing factors towards this changing tax environment and what this means for the future of Self-Assessment taxation.  


What do the changes entail? 

From the 2023/24 tax year onwards, the Self Assessment threshold for individuals taxed only through PAYE will rise to £150,000. So, earning between £100k – 150k from employment will no longer create an automatic requirement to complete a tax return. HMRC will issue a Self Assessment exit letter to affected taxpayers before tax returns for 2023-24 are due.  

This change was first announced in the Agent Update in May 2023. To be clear, this does not impact the 22/23 year, so the tax returns being completed right now are not affected. 

Also, in future, taxpayers will no longer be required to register for Self Assessment solely to pay the High Income Child Benefit Charge, which affects parents that earn over £50,000. This change was announced on 18 July 2023 in a Written Ministerial Statement, with further details to follow.    

To get certainty, taxpayers can utilise HMRC’s online tool for determining whether they are required to submit a tax return once it is updated for 2023-24. 


What are the main reasons behind the latest changes in Self Assessment taxation? 

As stated in a recent consultation on simplifying and modernising income tax services:The work around the annual filing date is HMRC’s single biggest business event of the year. Any issues that cause taxpayers to contact us require significant HMRC resources… 

There are various societal factors that have pushed more and more individuals to go self-employed, such as the 866,000 people who became self-employed in 2021-22, after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has meant that more individuals across the UK are now required to complete Self Assessment returns.  

In addition to this, there have also been freezes in the tax thresholds, which means that as people’s income has been going up, more people are being moved into higher tax brackets and therefore seeing more opportunities to find tax efficiencies and use Self Assessment to claim tax reliefs. 

Finally, with high inflation leading to interest rate rises and higher cash returns on investments, more individuals than ever will be dragged into Self Assessment to declare this information.  

With this increase of individuals in the system, HMRC has accelerated its efforts to remove some from the Self Assessment system as mitigation of their increasing workload. 

The continuing pressure on HMRC’s resources 

On May 12th, Jim Harra, the Chief Executive and First Permanent Secretary of HMRC, communicated straightforwardly with the Public Accounts Committee, stating that its current resource levels are insufficient to cope with the projected surge in demand for its phone and post services, which is expected to escalate substantially. 

“It’s well document that HMRC struggles to cope with the high volume of contact and enquiries it gets,” began Anish Mehta, Chief Product Officer at APARI Pro. 

“Given the fact that over half a million tax returns were submitted by accountants on the deadline day, taking people out of the system is, understandably, in HMRC’s best interests – 12m individuals do tax returns today, but trends are dragging more people in.” 

But Self Assessment remains the most straightforward way of claiming higher rate relief on pension contributions or charitable donations, especially for accountants and bookkeepers acting for their clients.  

“As an individual that has already been doing their own tax return for many years, you may want to stay in control of your financial affairs so you can avoid the loss of personal allowance and valuable benefits such as Tax Free Childcare.” explained Anish. 

“As an accountant, if you’ve got clients already in Self Assessment and HMRC says to take them out and handle all their taxes correctly through their tax code and Personal Tax Account, we already know this is prone to failure. Many want to keep their clients in Self Assessment for good reasons.” 

There will still be a need to have ongoing information about factors such as pension contributions throughout the year, so that you can advise your clients about how to be as tax efficient as possible. 

“Legitimately, there are still advantages to using Self Assessment software, such as telling you where you are financially and giving you real-time oversight on your tax liability” expressed Sudesh Sud, co-founder and CEO of APARI Pro. 

The role of software innovation in the evolving world of Self-Assessment taxation 

Innovation in the software market has meant that there are dedicated tools for individual taxpayers.  A lot of technology previously has been about businesses, but now, technology is available for low-fee clients to have smart and informed conversations with their advisor that didn’t exist a few years ago. 

“Whilst these announcements are trying to change the mechanism by which people submit information to HMRC, the real value accountants add is by helping people to be tax efficient – this doesn’t really change,” began Anish. 

“This is where technology and software can help you to have intelligent conversations with your clients throughout the year to ensure they’re in the best tax efficient position.” 


As a revolutionary software capable of simplifying Income Tax Self Assessment, APARI Pro uses automated data capture to remove manual processes and paperwork for accountants, bookkeepers and their high volume clients, such as sole traders, landlords, CIS workers and employees. 


To find out more about APARI Pro, visit the website today at  

ACCA calls for HMRC to rebuild trust with stakeholders

Leading global accountancy body calls for detailed improvement plan and closer working with professional bodies

Responding to HMRC consultation on improving the income tax service, Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, said: ‘A lack of investment has, over time, damaged relationships between HMRC, compliant taxpayers, and the agents supporting them, with service standards at HMRC falling to an unacceptably low standard.

‘Transparency and accountability come time and time again as being the key to tax morale and good tax engagement. This applies across the board, and tax authorities should be every bit as transparent and accountable as taxpayers and the agents who support them.

‘Stability is just as important as certainty and simplicity when it comes to the tax system. Too often changes are poorly planned, poorly communicated and poorly executed; with too many last-minute changes, this has impacted on taxpayer, agent and stakeholder confidence.

‘ACCA’s members are keen to see more detailed improvement plans for HMRC service standards as a matter of urgency. Closer partnership working with professional bodies, such as ACCA, could help highlight and prioritise areas for improvement including efficiencies that could be gained through improving access to certain information and functions for professionals.

‘While ACCA recognises the improvement plans in place, it is not confident about progress without additional measures:

  • Value of professionally regulated agents – government and HMRC should recognise the value of timesaving and trust offered by professionally regulated agents. HMRC should seek to enable professionally regulated agents to provide services which can provide time and resource savings for HMRC, for example, altering information such as tax codes.
  • Partnership – building on the work of the Charter Stakeholder Group, partnership and trust between HMRC and professional bodies should be built upon to quickly identify and address areas of concern, particularly where they waste time and resources for taxpayers, their agents and HMRC.’


Responding to HMRC’s announcement of self-assessment helpline closure

Responding to HMRC’s announcement of self-assessment helpline closure, ACCA have issued a statement on HMRC digital service plans.

Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, said:

“ACCA has concerns on HMRC’s announcement on the self-assessment trial but is pleased HMRC is looking at all options to tackle the current poor performance.

“It is good to see HMRC being flexible and adaptable in trying to deal with the most urgent queries although taxpayers should be told of alternatives with the helpline shut. However, there’s tension between HMRC urging taxpayers to file their self-assessment tax returns early and closing one of the mechanisms for getting a resolution to complex queries; the January rush is a big part of why the SA (self-assessment) helpline gets more calls in Jan/April than June/August.

“It’s all very well picking the lowest demand point to force people onto a platform which many aren’t comfortable with, but not if you’re going to try to increase demand by encouraging early filing at the same time.

“HMRC will not be able to effectively measure the change in behaviour, as the alternative has been removed. What HMRC should be focusing on is the proportion of queries settled in one interaction, this is not currently good enough and the fear is that this may get worse.


“In closing the helpline HMRC has got to make it clear to taxpayers and their advisers what other routes are available for engagement between taxpayer and tax authority. For instance, how does a taxpayer cancel an incorrect notice to file?

“The tax authorities need to be clear on what the alternative routes can actually do. Too often, taxpayers and advisers are going around in circles. Using the helpline to speak to HMRC is usually the last resort for tax professionals. So, the alternative solutions need to provide a better service than most users currently experience.

“There is a concern that this move will just help HMRC keep up with the workload in revised benefit claims which is entering peak season, rather than address the significant backlogs which have built up.

“Taxpayers and their agents want and need to see an improved level of service in, for instance, VAT registrations which is now taking months instead of the one month that is expected. Addressing the backlog could see a reduction in demand for contact as users will no longer need to chase HMRC for a response.


“It would be helpful to have transparency to have sight of HMRC’s metrics and analysis to form a view on the success of the trial, understand the difficulties encountered and see what lessons could be learnt to replicate success.

“ACCA does recognise that HMRC is asking for engagement, and it is pleased to offer all the help and insight it can.”