HMRC pilot to improve post response times

HMRC is looking into the benefits of using 'signpost headings'

As we all know, HMRC has some difficulty in dealing with the volume of post that it receives, to the considerable frustration of practitioners and taxpayers alike.

In order to improve response times, HMRC is running a pilot scheme to encourage the use of 'signpost headings' to indicate whether letters are routine or technical, thus facilitating allocation of post and improving the time and adequacy of the response.

Suggested headings have been segregated into primary (to summarise the broad content of the letter) and secondary (where the matter is more specific or needs technical input) as follows:

Primary headingsSecondary headings
Agent no longer actingAppeals - penalty appeals
Allowances and reliefs Appeals - surcharge appeals
Calculation queriesCapital allowances
Cessation of a source of incomeCapital gains (including Principal Private Residence elections and quoted shares)
ComplaintsDiscovery assessments
Deceased case/bereavementDouble taxation relief
Employer correspondenceFilm losses
Employer penalty appealForeign income (foreign tax credit)
ESC A19 claim or Regulation 72Investment club
Information requestsS33 trading losses
Loss claimsShare schemes
New source of incomeSpecial assessments
PAYE code query/amendmentVenture Capital Trust/Enterprise Investment Scheme
Progress chasing correspondence/repayments 
Self assessment appeal 
Self-assessment/ PAYE repayment claim 
Self-assessment: set up or close record 
Self-assessment: statement query 
Self-assessment: tax return amendment 
Self-assessment: tax return request

HMRC is asking practitioners to adopt these in order to assist them in their fight against the backlog of correspondence.

ACCA would urge members to try the initiative and let us know if this has made any difference. Email