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HMRC publishes tax charter

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has launched its taxpayers’ charter.

It sets out what people can expect when they deal with HMRC as far as their rights and obligations are concerned.

HMRC said that the tax authority wants to provide a service that is even-handed, accurate and based on mutual trust and respect.

The charter explains that taxpayers can expect HMRC to help them to get things right; to treat them as honest; to treat them even-handedly; to be professional and act with integrity; to tackle people who deliberately break the rules and challenge those who bend the rules; and to protect taxpayers’ information and to respect their privacy.

In return, taxpayers are expected to be honest, respect HMRC staff and to take care to get tax matters right.

Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: "The government is committed to making the tax system as useable and accessible as possible, for individuals, businesses and all the other organisations who interact with HMRC. The new charter will go a long way to helping achieve that goal."

Dave Hartnett, HMRC Permanent Secretary for Tax, commented: "The charter’s key aim is to improve the relationship between HMRC and our customers, and we obviously have a crucial role in making that possible. But we can’t do it all on our own. Both parties have a part to play, and that’s why the charter sets out people’s rights and their responsibilities."

The charter was welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT).

John Whiting, the CIOT's tax policy director, described the document as an important step forward in relations between taxpayers and the taxman.

Mr Whiting added: "Implementation of the charter is crucial. I am delighted that the Financial Secretary has shown his own commitment to the charter by personally launching it. It is important that it is properly publicised throughout HMRC, among tax advisers and among taxpayers generally."

A full version of the charter is available at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/charter/charter.pdf