This 16-piece gospel choir unite to soothe the stresses of HMRC staff

Under-pressure staff at HMRC were shocked to be serenaded by a 16-piece gospel choir as they arrived at work - during one of their busiest times of the year.

Singing uplifting music to taxmen and women entering the Revenue & Customs building, the choir’s tongue-in-cheek performance was to share their gratitude for tax-free savings – as it’s not often Brits get something for free from the taxman. 

One worker quipped: “I don't tell people I work for the taxman because it just causes arguments – so this is a bit of a surprise. It's a nice little thank you – I'll take it.”

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Another said as they entered the office: “I saw this amazing choir singing happy gospel – it just made my day.”

They performed several classic gospel songs, as well as their versions of pop tracks like One Love by Bob Marley, Pharrell Williams’ Happy – and Money Money Money by ABBA.

The choir, which has teamed up with Skipton Building Society, were also giving complementary coffees out to HMRC workers and commuters encouraging people to make the most of their ISA allowance ahead of this year’s deadline day on April 5.

A tax worker added: “People need to be aware of taxes and what they're entitled to [in relation to their savings]. It's a minefield in itself – we want to make it easy for people to understand.”

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The choir came to soothe the stresses of HMRC staff as they work at the most busiest time of the tax yearThe choir came to soothe the stresses of HMRC staff as they work at the most busiest time of the tax year
The choir came to soothe the stresses of HMRC staff as they work at the most busiest time of the tax year | Skipton

Flipping the tax-tables

It comes after a poll of 2,000 adults by the building society found 43 per cent don’t know much about the different types of ISAs available to them. Of those who haven’t opened an account, 19 per cent have shorter-term goals and said they need easier access cash and 18 per cent admit they don’t understand the benefits.

However, of those which are using an ISA, 65 per cent initially opened the account because they see it as a tax-efficient way to save or invest money. A third (34 per cent) of these started theirs because they wanted to build wealth gradually over time, and 31 per cent use it to help save towards their retirement.

As a result, half of these savers prioritise putting money into their ISAs over other types of saving accounts for its tax-free benefits, with 29 per cent stating it offers them financial security.

And in fact, over their years of saving in an ISA, 36 per cent have at least once been able to max out their £20,000 tax-free allowance. 

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Nine in 10 Brits went on to say tax-free saving is important to them when looking to set up a new account, according to the study carried out by OnePoll. But 58 per cent wish they had been taught more about ISAs at a younger age.

Alex Sitaras, head of savings products for Skipton Building Society, added: “You’ve got to give it to the taxman – and normally, when it comes to tax, you do. But when it comes ISA savings accounts you have a £20,000 tax-free ISA allowance, the taxman is giving you something for once and we want all savers to make the most of it.

"According to our analysis of CACI data, only 27.7 per cent of new account openings in Great Britain in 2023 were into a cash ISA, leaving potentially millions of pounds of hard-earned savings not protected from the taxman. And we have seen from the research just how important ISAs are for helping people to save for their future – allowing them to put aside a great amount each year, without having to worry about the taxman knocking on their door to take a little extra off the top."

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