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  • Writer's pictureCPAA

What do we want? Change. When do we want it? Now.


Run for and owned by our members, the CPAA is a not-for-profit organisation that represents members’ best interests – and that includes fighting your corner on tricky issues. We have listened to you – at our regional events and in our recent survey – and understand your concerns. Members have shared frustrations with HMRC service levels and concerns about MTD for ITSA, and we share the same sentiments.


 

Taking action


This is why we feel it is time to take a stand. We are speaking up on your behalf – and that of the profession and the public we all serve – to call upon the Government to make changes to better support accountants. We are doing this in two ways: through an online petition that we want to be raised in Parliament, and through an open letter to MPs.


It is time for action and we need your help. We need you to sign and share our online petition to call on the Government to rethink quarterly MTD for ITSA. It is also needed to send a copy of our open letter to your MP to ask for service improvements and better investment in HMRC – and share that to encourage others to back us.


We recently launched these campaigns and the feedback has been astounding already. The petition has gone live and is attracting signatures. Feedback from the open letters has included two MPs promising to pick up the issue, take it further and bring it up with the Chancellor. We need to build on this momentum – there is still a long way to go.


 

The Petition


We have created a petition calling for the end to plans for quarterly MTD for ITSA reporting and push for one single tax return, as per the current Self-Assessment requirement. We want to incentivise digital reporting and not penalise those who do not. And if digital reporting is mandated, we want the Government to improve communications, to equip and educate those who will need to use it.


The burden on businesses and accountants is too much – it is complex, restrictive and unnecessary – and we want the Government to know the strength of professional feeling against what they propose. We are adding our voice to other industry organisations demanding improvements and with enough backing, a petition with 10,000 signatures gets a response from the Government. If a petition gets 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in Parliament.


We know that the vast majority of our members are keen for change. In our recent survey, 97% of members said quarterly reporting would be challenging for their practice and clients. Almost 9 out of 10 members believe MTD will have a detrimental effect on smaller clients. And two-thirds felt digital filing would not be an improvement over the current system.


It’s all about your clients; members said the biggest challenges to MTD would be the businesses forced to comply, and practitioners could see issues with “getting clients to change their working practices”, pointing out that “it’s more cost to the client for very little benefit.” When we asked about the benefits? The overwhelming sentiment was that there is no benefit and “it will undoubtedly lead to more confusion than order.”


We need to you to amplify our call for action from the Government. It will take a matter of moments to fill out the online petition and then share the link far and wide with colleagues and industry contacts. We need as many signatures as possible; there is power in numbers and together we can push for positive change.


 

The Open Letter


We have written an open letter, calling for more investment in specific areas to raise the standard of support HMRC offers. We want the Government to understand the extent of the issue and take action, so we have outlined specific areas for change, demanding better and more targeted investment at HMRC. The intention is to garner MP support so that the issue is raised in Parliament and the Chancellor is made aware that the accountancy profession wants action.


The purpose of the letter is to call for improvements in service levels at HMRC; a taxpayer funded public service that is both vital and failing. Despite HMRC Chief Executive recently apologising for substandard service levels and bad agents, an apology alone is not sufficient and tangible change is desperately needed.


We know our members concur. Our recent survey found HMRC service levels was the biggest frustration, with 7 out of 10 members the most frustrated by phone and postal services. Others voiced dissatisfaction with Making Tax Digital and the lack of expertise of HMRC staff.


When asked for views on HMRC, one member said “after 46 years of interaction with HMRC - the current situation is far worse than it has ever been. HMRC is barely functioning with any efficiency in any arena.” Another stated, “I have never known such poor service levels. I am currently referring many cases to the Adjudicator.” One member concluded that HMRC “do not provide a good service to the taxpayer.”


We have called upon the Government to implement five specific steps to invest in and improve HMRC: reduce response times with better staffing levels, and training skilled staff to provide concise answers to queries and take responsibility; encourage staff back to the office within HMRC to pool resources, share expertise and be managed more effectively; increase and improve communication; and invest in digital services and content, but alongside not at the expense of all other services.


Showing your support for the open letter is easy. We have created a template letter that can be copied in its entirety – just cut and paste it – and email or post it to your MP. Pull on people power; share the letter with likeminded colleagues and industry contacts to improve the chance for change.


 

How to get involved


As a member organisation and professional body, we are proud to use our voice to speak on your behalf to call upon the Government to make changes to better support accountants. We need to ask you to take just a few minutes to follow these three steps to help.


  1. Sign our online petition to call on the Government to rethink quarterly MTD for ITSA.

  2. Send a copy of our open letter to your MP to ask for service improvements at HMRC. Find your MP’s contact details here.

  3. Share the details of both with colleagues and industry contacts – let’s spread the word.


We will share official responses and updates we receive to the petition and open letter in due course. Your support is appreciated and we are hopeful that our combined efforts on this campaign will have an impact.

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