Page 4: Communications
To best serve the UK economy it is important for the Inland Revenue/Customs & Excise to communicate with the wider public about tax collection issues in an efficient way. There are a range of communications methods available. Clear communication helps to reduce the cost of tax collection, which leaves additional money available for other government spending projects - e.g. on schools. The tax collection authorities must communicate with businesses and with their accountants, who handle their tax affairs. Frequently used communications methods include:
The top 1000 UK companies have account managers, and meetings often take place on business premises. The Inland Revenue (www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk) has enquiry centres to deal with clients' queries and regularly runs seminars to explain tax matters. The Inland Revenue/Customs & Excise runs Business Advice Open Days around the country with other national government departments and local business support agencies (e.g. the Small Business Service/Business Links) that are particularly useful for new business start-ups.
The mail is an important means of sending out tax forms. Nowadays, however, many business people prefer to complete their tax forms online as this is the fastest and cheapest method of communication. Queries can also be dealt with online is some cases. Telephone services provide the opportunity for advice lines. Television, newspapers and radio communication are widely used to convey messages about deadlines for self assessment and other key information. The tax authorities also use a range of ambient methods of communication such as petrol pump nozzles and even beer mats.