Newsletter issue – September 2018.

HMRC have published a document entitled Making Tax Digital Research – Attitudes, Behaviour and Engagement, which reports on research undertaken to help HMRC understand how individual customers and agents respond to the core principles of MTD. The key objectives of the research were to explore:

  • individual customers’ and agents’ overall attitudes and expectations of the elements of MTD that may affect them;
  • levers and barriers that may influence engagement with MTD; and
  • anticipated impacts and experiences across different individual customer groups of moving to MTD.

In summary, the research confirmed that, overall, there is broad cross-audience positivity around the idea of MTD, and that digital tax is welcomed – even ‘expected’.

The research also finds that:

  • the benefits of MTD are more apparent to those with complex tax journeys and high senses of ownership over financial affairs.
  • Customers’ concerns centered on data security, customer error, increased workload, and a lack of need for those with simple tax.
  • Third party data caused most concern out of four concepts – re: privacy, data security and motivations of HMRC.
  • Framing is key: “near real time” suggests data is updated immediately and raises high expectations around the speed of updating.
  • Support needs were anticipated around tax knowledge and how to use Digital Tax Accounts (DTAs). Customers anticipated webchat and online demos would meet the needs of digitally capable customers.

This report was one of a number of research papers commissioned by HMRC in 2016-2017 to support the development and delivery of digital services for customers. The findings have been used to inform the department’s work. HMRC reprioritised its portfolio of transformation projects in 2018 to ensure that it delivers key government priorities.