A new website has been launched for company car drivers to help them quickly communicate vehicle changes to HM Revenue & Customs after a series of damning reports into the department’s service levels for taxpayers.
The website, called ‘Tell HMRC’, aims to simplify the process of communicating with the tax authorities by giving clear guidance on the information that needs to be submitted and offering clear proof that any changes have been registered.
The system ensures that changes to a driver’s tax liability are registered immediately with the tax authority so they are not caught out by unexpected bills at the end of the tax year, or left realising they have been overpaying tax for months.
Launched by Dicere Tributum, it was originally designed to help individuals handle changes to living circumstances that might affect tax credits, but brothers Matt and Chris Boyle saw the potential for expanding its services to the company car market.
Matt Boyle, a director, has a background in taxation and previously spent more than 15 years working in Government tax offices.
He said: “Members of the website are prompted to provide details and tell-HMRC’s system then handles communication and provides a receipt.”
‘Simple solution to a simple problem’
“This is a new, unique and simple solution to a simple problem,” he added.
“Telling HMRC about changes is not really at the top of priority lists for people, so we just make it easy, quick and convenient for people to do what they need to do.
“If you have a new or different company car, the easiest thing to do is to just tell HMRC through the website.”
The launch comes amid an escalating row over the difficulties that taxpayers have in reaching HMRC and other Government agencies, with claims that phone calls often go unanswered, or that people are forced to pay high costs for ringing 0845 numbers.
Earlier this year, HMRC was savaged by Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, for its performance when dealing with taxpayers.
She said: “HMRC’s ‘customers’ have no choice over whether or not they deal with the department.
“It is therefore disgraceful to subject them to unacceptable levels of service when they try to contact the department by phone or letter.
“In 2011-12, 20 million phone calls were not answered. It cost the callers £136 million in phone charges while they waited to speak to an adviser.
“Against its target of responding to 80% of letters within 15 days, the department managed to reply to just 66%. This is an abysmal record.
“HMRC’s new target of answering 80% of calls within five minutes is woefully inadequate and unambitious.
“The department should set a more demanding target in the short term and a long-term target that is much closer to the industry standard of answering 80% of calls within
However, she raised concerns at how the department expected to raise standards when it was planning to reduce staff numbers by a third by 2015, despite a projected increase in calls.
During peak periods, fewers than one in 10 calls may be answered, latest figures have shown.
HMRC spent approximately £900m on customer service in 2011-12, around a quarter of its £3.7 billion total expenditure. It received 79 million phone calls and 25 million items of post in the year.
Boyle added: “We believe that as soon as you have changed your vehicle, you should be able to inform HMRC as an individual, rather than waiting for something to happen.
“HMRC doesn’t accept emails and we have seen in our research that HMRC can claim not to have been informed, even though a letter has been sent.
“The website provides independent formal proof that HMRC has actually been informed.”
As part of the development of the site, the company is examining ways for companies to sign all employees up to the service.
A spokesman for HMRC said: “We are working to improve HMRC’s performance in responding to calls and post.
“By March 2015, HMRC customers can expect that we will answer 90% of telephone calls made; we will deal with 80% of letters within 15 working days, and we will deal with new UK claims for benefits and credits on average within 22 calendar days.”