HMRC confirms closure of 137 offices
HMRC has confirmed the closure of 137 local offices, which it will replace with 13 regional centres as part of a ten-year modernisation plan.
The first regional centre will open in 2016-17, with the remaining 12 opening within the next five years.
The tax authority’s 58,000 staff are currently spread across 170 offices around the UK – ranging in size from 6,000 people to fewer than 10.
HMRC said the move to regional offices would help it build a more highly skilled workforce to “meet the challenges of bringing in more revenue from those evading tax and improving its customer service to the honest majority”.
Charlotte Barbour, ICAS Director of Taxation, commented: "This will be challenging for HMRC and those who work with it. A workable and efficient tax administration requires the right resources, including staff with sufficient knowledge of the tax system for the delivery role."
The 13 regional centres will be in:
- North East – Newcastle
- North West – Manchester and Liverpool
- Yorkshire and the Humber – Leeds
- East Midlands – Nottingham
- West Midlands – Birmingham
- Wales – Cardiff
- Northern Ireland – Belfast
- Scotland – Glasgow and Edinburgh
- South West – Bristol
- London, South East and East of England – Stratford and Croydon
HMRC Chief Executive Lin Homer said that the organisation has too many expensive, isolated and outdated offices.
She added: “This makes it difficult for us to collaborate, modernise our ways of working, and make the changes we need to transform our service to customers and clamp down further on the minority who try to cheat the system.
“The new regional centres will bring our staff together in more modern and cost-effective buildings in areas with lower rents. They will also make a big contribution to the cities where they are based, providing high-quality, skilled jobs and supporting the Government’s commitment for a national recovery that benefits all parts of the UK.”
HMRC did not reveal how many staff would lose their jobs, but insisted that the majority would be relocated to a regional centre. However, it warned that the organisation would aim to have fewer staff in the future as it streamlines its processes and cuts costs.