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Haines Watts Exeter Phone icon 01392 260310

‘Customers’ or ‘Tax payers’?

Do you ever feel that life would be so much easier without irritating customers? Whoever said the customer is always right?

Well, In 2016 HMRC took this to heart and whilst quietly updating the ‘Tax Payer Charter’, the original was removed from their website and replaced with ‘Your Charter’.

An HMRC spokesman explained that “HMRC periodically reviews the content, identifying areas for change,” and that “the updated ‘Your Charter’ was developed with input from customers and stakeholders.”
They added, “Although we have made considerable progress towards achieving our vision for improved customer experience, we know that we have more to do to meet the expectations of our customers. ‘Your Charter’ provides the framework for how we will do that by setting out what customers can expect in their dealings with HMRC and also explaining customers’ obligations.”

Clearly this was too much of a tall order; it was easier to dispense with all their customers. In fact the word ‘customer’ has completely disappeared from the new and improved version of the Tax Payer Charter!
By writing cleverly in the first and second person (we and you) they have been able to remove every reference to their relationship with their ‘customers’ from the Charter.

So I fear that we are no longer customers and yet again we have become mere tax payers somewhere lower down the food chain perhaps?

Indeed HMRC seem to be pursuing as many ways as possible to distance themselves from their old customers, closing local call centres and contact centres in favour of automated on line processes (which of course have their place but don’t suit everyone all the time).

We will wait to see how far this process goes.

Until next time…


Want to know more? Call us on 01392 260310 or email

About the author

David Park

David is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and has worked exclusively in professional accountancy practices in and around Exeter for over 25 years. He has an extensive knowledge of local business issues.

He is particularly experienced in bringing financial direction to the client’s board room. To succeed in business financial strategy is paramount and yet many smaller businesses do not have the resources to recruit internal finance directors.

David has been a business owner since 2005 and an equity partner at Haines Watts since 2013 specialising in providing strategic business and taxation services to owner-managed businesses.

David spends his time working between the Crediton and Exeter offices.

Outside of work he is a voluntary governor at his children’s school and a director of Crediton Rugby Football Club.

David remains hopeful of becoming a professional surfer one day but after 40 years of practicing without getting any better this might not happen.

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