I've been praising HM Revenue & Customs this week - and rightly so.
But I'll persist in my view that closing local tax offices is outright folly, despite which a local paper in Norfolk reports:
Yarmouth's prospective Conservative Parliamentary candidate Brandon Lewis has pledged to continue his fight to save the jobs of more than 100 tax workers in the town's riverside Havenbridge House.
As part of a cost-cutting strategy, HM Revenue and Customs is planning to close its office there by 2011 and centralize its operation in Norwich.
This de-localising of tax is the enemy of long run tax efficiency. KLocal tax offices are essential:
- To provide a local service
- To create local knowledge
- To represent the link between the tax payer and government that is lost when the telephone is the only point of contact
- To ensure service meets local need: after all those places also handle tax credits.
HM Revenue & Customs inists on calling us 'customers'. It does not treat us like them. It's time it did.