HMRC continues modernisation plans at the expense of local offices

HMRC has announced the next step in its ten-year modernisation programme, which includes investment in new online services, data analytics, new compliance techniques, new skills and new ways of working, designed to make it easier for people to pay their tax.

The plans will see the creation of 13 new regional centres over the next five years, causing the closure of 170 local tax offices. This could lead to thousands of the tax authorities 56,000 staff being made redundnant.

Meteoric rise of online Self Assessment completion 

The changes have, however, been effective so far and have already resulted in over 80% of people filing their Self Assessment returns online and given customers new, simple ways to check their payments, make changes or find answers to questions.

The tax authority, which raised a record £517 billion for public services last year, will open its first new regional centre in 2016-17, with others following between 2017 and 2021.

‘Expensive, outdated offices’

Lin Homer, HMRC’s chief executive, said: “HMRC is committed to modern, regional centres serving every region and nation in the UK, with skilled and varied jobs and development opportunities, while also ensuring jobs are spread throughout the UK and not concentrated in the capital.

“HMRC has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices. This makes it difficult for us to collaborate, modernise our ways of working, and make the changes we need to transform our service to customers and clamp down further on the minority who try to cheat the system.”

Homer said the new centres will bring staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents.

She added: “They will also make a big contribution to the cities where they are based, providing high-quality, skilled jobs and supporting the Government’s commitment for a national recovery that benefits all parts of the UK.”

Related reading