Accountants will have been in high demand over the last few weeks, as HMRC’s customer service has been called out for failing those who are trying to pay their taxes.
January 31st marks the deadline for self-employed people and sole traders to complete their tax returns, but many could be subject to late fines as a result of struggling to get hold of HMRC.
According to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), having reduced its customer service staff from 25,500 to 19,500 over the last few years, it has been unable to handle calls or post as well as it did before.
“Taxpayers and their agents are still not receiving an acceptable level of customer service,” the report concluded.
HMRC’s solution to the problem is to digitalise the tax system, so its website can answer queries in most cases. However, this can be frustrating for many people, especially if they cannot find the answer they need.
“The move to online services will not happen quickly and will not be appropriate for all circumstances or customers,” PAC stated.
In fact, many self-employed people and sole traders find the tax return process so stressful and exhausting that accountants are required to handline their financial and tax affairs.
Those who do not pass this task over to professionals may end up giving up on their business, as they cannot cope with the admin involved.
Accountancy firms, therefore, need to do more to encourage people into the sector, with Lara Abrash, chief executive of Deloitte’s US audit business telling the Financial Times: “As a profession, our ability to protect the public interest could be at risk.”
If you’re looking for a job in accountancy, this goes to show there is a big demand for professionals. For more information on our agency work in Brighton to put your skills to good use, contact us today.