Nearly half of self-employed workers and small business owners do not have confidence in HMRC, data published by the tax office has revealed – a finding that has been described as “damning”.
Published on 17th July, the study shows that confidence among small businesses has dropped year-on-year. In 2021, 63% of small businesses perceived HMRC in a positive light, but this dropped to as low as 54% in 2022.
Added to this, only 35% held the view that HMRC is efficient and does not waste money, which is in line with findings from last year. Question marks were also raised by small business owners over the effectiveness of HMRC, with only half (54%) agreeing that it is an effective organisation.
The research did cite satisfied ‘customer experience’, broadly speaking. For example, 74% of small businesses spoke positively of their experience of dealing with HMRC. However, Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, who commissioned the research, said this “merely papers over the cracks.”
He said: “This research paints a damning picture of how self-employed workers and small business owners perceive HMRC. With nearly 4.3m self-employed people in the UK, it suggests that nearly half don’t have confidence in the tax office.
“I can’t help but feel that HMRC has created a rod for its own back. Time and time again, HMRC launches tax investigations into innocent freelancers and contractors, leaving them with staggering tax bills hanging over their head. I’m not surprised that so many small business owners are questioning HMRC’s efficiency and use of taxpayers’ money.
“True, from a customer experience standpoint, HMRC provides some useful information and support. But this merely papers over the cracks – around two million small business owners aren’t confident that HMRC is up to the job, which is a major issue.”