28 April 2017

HMRC update Work and Pensions Committee on changes to compliance processes

The Work and Pensions Committee have published a letter from Jon Thompson, Chief Executive of HMRC, sent to the Committee to update them on the actions HMRC have taken in respect of tax credits compliance activity. This was following a critical report from the Work and Pensions Committee late last year.

The letter confirms that HMRC have reviewed 31,175 cases of people who had their claims amended by Concentrix last year. In 5,000 of those cases, HMRC have written to the claimants and will provide a further update to the Committee once the exercise is complete. HMRC also set out 5 changes to the their processes for the 2017 ‘High Risk Renewals’ exercise (the name given to compliance checks during the renewals period) which are:

  1. Reviewing and revising all letters so that people understand what they need to do and where they can get help
  2. Prompting claimants to respond to checks by reminding them through SMS text alerts and more outbound phone calls
  3. Making it easier for claimants to engage during a check by allowing digital channels to submit information, improving telephone services and ensuring better referrals between the main tax credits helpline and compliance teams.
  4. Supporting people who proactively contact HMRC by being more flexible in the types of evidence that will be considered and recognising, in undisclosed partner cases, that people’s lives are complicated and relationship breakdowns can be drawn out and difficult.
  5. Rapid reinstatement of payments – where payments changed because they don’t engage during a check but come forward with new evidence before the final renewal date.

One of the key criticisms of the Committee previously was  that problems during the renewals period with Concentrix were not escalated quickly enough, so to ensure this does not happen again HMRC say they have changed their structure to monitor performance closely and ensure issues are escalated to senior people in real time.

The full letter can be read on the Parliament UK website