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”, by tax insurance provider, Qdos. 

Published on 17th July, the study shows that confidence among small businesses has dropped year-on-year. In 2021, 63 percent of small businesses perceived HMRC in a positive light, but this dropped to as low as 54 percent in 2022.

Added to this, only 35 percent 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 percent of small businesses spoke positively of their experience of dealing with HMRC. However, Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, said this “merely papers over the cracks.”

A damning picture of HMRC has been painted

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.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.