David Jetuah, Accountancy Age, Tuesday 26 October 2010 at 14:08:00

Hopes that the taxman was going to be spared from the spending cuts weredashed, so will it roll out more amnesties to increase its cost efficiency?


Advisers bracing themselves for more strained working relations with thetaxman after it was hit with a 15% savings bombshell are now saying that it mayforce the department's hand on offering more tax amnesties.

Instead of starting costly exercises to try and root out errant taxpayerssome advisers predict HMRC will roll out more programmes like theTaxHealth Plan to other well-paid professionals- even accountants.

"I'm hearing from government sources that the amnesties could stretch tolawyers and accountants," said one adviser.

The taxman had close to 69,000 staff as of April 2010, but revenue sourcessay that this will decrease to 56,000 by 2014/2015 after the latest round ofcuts.

Advisers are warning that the taxman will have more trouble processing thelarge amounts of information it receives and dealing with the demands of theprofession.

But, perhaps surpisingly, advisers are also being pragmatic about thesituation.

"We've all got to get used to a degree of inconvenience in our lives," saidMike Warburton of Grant Thornton.

The first sign of how the taxman is going to achieve its savings target camethrough recently when it announced that the Sunday service hotline was going tobe scrapped.

David Ingall partner at JWP Creers said:"The costs have to be cut and therewill be consequences.

"We have to deal with those consequences as part of our professional life. Isthe service going to be 15% worse? Depending where the savings fall it isanyone?s guess."