Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2009 requiring HMRC to prepare
and maintain a Charter. The Charter will set out standards of behaviour and
values to which HMRC will aspire in dealing with taxpayers and others.
In addition, the legislation will require HMRC to report annually on how well HMRC is doing in meeting the standards in the Charter. While the provision is new, Charters existed for both the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise in the past although neither had a statutory basis.
At the time of the Pre-Budget Report it was confirmed that legislation giving the Charter legislative backing would be included in Finance Bill 2009. A second consultation document looking at the content of the Charter, was issued on 3 February 2009. This consultation closes on 12 May 2009.
Who will be affected?The proposed charter will be relevant to everyone who deals with HMRC.
When?HMRC plans to launch the Charter by Autumn 2009.
We support the proposal that the new Charter should have statutory backing. The
second consultation document was, in our view, closer to HMRC's mission
statement than a taxpayers' charter. We think the proposed Charter should (at
least) make clear that HMRC will:
(1) treat taxpayers and others it deals with fairly;
(2) treat similarly people in similar circumstances;
(3) presume that those it deals with are honest unless and until the contrary is established.