Are we the only organisation who continues to be irritated when HMRC refer to us as a customer?
It was some years ago that HMRC’s “Customer Services” department started plugging the phrase. The issue at the time was the lack of customer service, more to the point, the delays experienced by taxpayers when calling HMRC’s helplines.
Do HMRC really believe that by referring to us as customers this will turn the adversarial process of levying and collecting taxes into a chummier affair? Don’t think so…
Clearly, taxpayers don’t fit the general definition of a customer as a person who buys goods or services from a business. Certainly, we must pay our bills, a prerequisite to the exchange of goods and services, but what we are contributing to are the more nebulous, but very necessary, public services: health care, defence, education, maintenance of law and order and so on.
John Humphreys, the well-known radio presenter, has challenged the phrase pointing out that we have no choice, we have to deal with HMRC. It is also interesting to dwell on the status of HMRC’s staff, do they qualify for staff discounts? Perhaps 10% off the basic income tax rate?
We are not customers. We are taxpayers.
We do retain one enduring quality that could be ascribed to the buyer/seller, customer/supplier relationship, we all want to pay the lowest amount possible for the services we consume.
Meanwhile, back at the coalface, we continue to sell relevant and useful content to the UK tax profession as they endeavour to support their customers, clients, to quantify and settle the taxes that they owe based on current legislation, but not a penny more.
If you would like to see how our online services could help you develop business for your firm, and keep your clients in the loop, call us at any time for a demonstration.