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HMRC streamlining to hurt small businesses

HMRC has decided calls regarding corporation tax will be dealt with through one of two call centres in Cardiff and Glasgow.

The change comes on the back of mounting criticism over the efficiency of HMRC's telephone service and it is believed the new system will help the service offered to taxpayers to become more streamlined.

However, the move could adversely affect small to medium businesses whilst allowing large businesses to continue using specialised, dedicated phone numbers to pursue their individual requests.

Melanie Orriss at tax firm Baker Tilly argued that the move will not reduce the inefficiencies complained about. In 2011/12 HMRC reported average call waiting times of six minutes, with most people hanging up before reaching an adviser.

Orriss believes that with fewer call centres and fewer advisers with less local or specialist knowledge, it will be 'unlikely' that queries will be fully dealt with on the first call.

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