HMRC have published two documents regarding its relationship with the taxpayer and how this is developing/will develop in future. 'Corporate Report: Our Strategy' contains a declaration of their values, three strategic objectives and eight key decisions. 'Your Charter Annual Report: April 2016 to March 2017'  is the Charter Committee’s report on how HMRC has performed against the standards expected in its Customer Charter.

Corporate Report: Our Strategy

HMRC Values:

  • Professional
  • Act with Integrity
  • Show Respect
  • Innovative

MTD was certainly innovative, but perhaps a touch overambitious, given implementation has now been put back. See Making Tax Digital: the index

Strategic Objectives and associated Key Decisions:

  • Maximise revenues due and bear down on avoidance and evasion
  • Focus on customers

HMRC have reorganised their activity around dividing customers into five groups: large business, mid-size business, small business, individuals and wealthy, and tailoring systems to each of these.

  • Promote compliance and prevent non-compliance
  • Reduce likelihood of disputes
  • Transform tax and payments for our customer
  • Digital tax accounts

User friendly digital services

  • Support intermediaries

Requiring third parties to provide information

  • Important role of agents
  • Design and deliver a professional, efficient and engaged organisation
  • Skilled and sustainable workforce
  • Delivering for government

This refers to working with the Treasury to use the tax system to support wider objectives.

Most advisers will agree the second objective is the most interesting. Firstly, “Transform” not “Improve” or “Perfect”; this seems to be an objective of change for the sake of change. The transformation suggested is for more work to be done by third parties (i.e. taxpayers of various kinds) and less by HMRC. Note the purported recognition of the role of agents, while at the same time a new digital system is introduced wherein an agent cannot see the information in their clients’ personal digital tax accounts and where systems are designed without initial access by agents.

Your Charter Annual Report: April 2016 to March 2017

This is the Charter Committee’s report on how HMRC has performed against the standards expected in its Customer Charter. 


“The committee challenged HMRC on the data relating to call waiting times and whether the ‘speed of answer’ measure took account of the time spent getting through the initial automated messaging menu."

“While the committee accepted that there had been a great improvement, it cautioned HMRC’s leadership that this may not yet match the high expectations in today’s multi-channel world.”

  • “The 2016 results show encouraging improvements since 2015 in the following areas for individuals and agents:
  • ‘acceptability of time taken’
  • ‘resolving queries’
  • HMRC is ‘approachable/professional’

“The results for agents, who have more regular dealings with the department, have improved the most since 2015 but are still less positive than those for individuals and small businesses. There are no significant changes to scores for small businesses in 2016 but this group rates most areas more positively than individuals and agents.

“The committee believes that it is reasonable to ask whether the department is using this data or the right data to drive improvements in the way it deals with customers. It intends to ask this question of HMRC through its new approach of looking at fewer themes in more detail.”

Public perception of HMRC seems to have improved, with the vast majority of categories showing improvements on the prior year.  However, only two categories (“HMRC treat customers as honest” and “HMRC were professional”) showed an 80% or better rating.

HMRC's reports

Our strategy

Your Charter: annual report 2016/17