Since I last blogged about the digital tax account for businesses, we've launched the private beta of the new service. From 10 February, small but growing numbers of real people have been using the service to manage their tax affairs and we've been asking them to tell us what they think so we can improve the service. This is a real opportunity for end users to shape the service, while it is still in a trial stage, and to help us deliver a service which best meets everyone’s needs in future.
We've had lots of positive comments about the new design. This is really encouraging, and it's good to see that the hard work of our user researchers and designers has been so well received. But we can always do better – and we’ve also derived real benefit from the comments made by those people who've experienced problems with the service, or who have suggested improvements to it. In this post I'm going to highlight the three problems which have been reported most, and explain how we’ve tackled these issues.
- A small number of agents experienced problems when they tried to use this service on behalf of their clients. There’s been a misunderstanding here – the service was intended to be used by customers in relation to their own tax affairs, not anyone else’s. We amended our volunteer registration form to make the distinction clear.
- A small number of employers have told us that the information about their PAYE schemes on the homepage and on the “View your PAYE account details” page is confusing. We have now improved the presentation of this information on the homepage, to make it clearer, and are considering how best to amend the other pages affected. If you're an employer taking part in the beta, let us have your feedback on this.
- We’ve also fixed a problem with the navigation – some people told us that they found it hard to get back to the beta site once they navigated away from the beta pages, and onto HMRC's existing services pages. So we’ve replaced the “Home” link in the navigation banner at the top of every one of HMRC's existing services pages, with a link that will take beta users back to the tax account homepage.
Customer feedback is an extremely important way of helping us build the best possible service – and we hope to receive more feedback, from more customers, in future. As we move into public beta and the number of users continues to grow, my team and I will be using this blog to respond to further feedback and explain changes that we will make to the service. We'll explain in a future post how you can take part in the public beta.