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HMRC limiting telephone support in the run up to Self-Assessment deadline
by Susie Hughes at 13:57 07/12/23 (News on Business)
Calls to the Self-Assessment helpline i the weeks leading up to the January 31, 2024 deadline will be assessed for complexity before taxpayers and agents can get help, according to an HMRC announcement.
Anyone calling with a query from December 11, 2023 to the deadline date where HMRC think the answer can be found online will be referred to digital support, rather than being allowed to speak to an HMRC advisor in person.

The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) says the announcement from HMRC highlights the importance of dealing with your tax affairs sooner rather than later, as it will become increasingly challenging to access phone support in the run up to the January 31 filing deadline.

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Senga Prior, Chair of the ATT Technical Steering Group, said: “This latest restriction on what taxpayers can speak to HMRC about comes barely three months after the same Self-Assessment helpline reopened after a three-month long closure during the summer.

“After the helpline reopened, HMRC were reporting higher call volumes and longer wait times. Agents have also been reporting long wait times on the Agent Dedicated Line for months. These experiences form part of a wider picture of concern within the profession that HMRC is under-resourced to deal with all that is being asked of it.

“There is a greater push to taxpayers self-serving from digital resources, and fewer ways for them to speak to an actual person at HMRC about their tax queries. Not only will some people be left behind in that journey, but the services available to taxpayers and professional advisers via digital channels are too often incomplete, disjointed and poorly designed even for those who can go digital.

“From the agent perspective, we would be keen for more and better online services so that we could deal with more matters digitally. Agents still have to phone HMRC for simple tasks, for example correcting PAYE coding notices for their clients, as there is only a limited digital service for agents. Agents could also help to facilitate more digital interaction with HMRC if the process of getting authorisation from clients who can’t use computers was easier.”

After the Autumn Statement, when questioned about providing extra resources to help HMRC improve their customer service, the Chancellor responded that HMRC have plans in place to “meet their customer resource targets with the resources they have”. Those plans will need to include more comprehensive digital services if HMRC are to meet the legal obligations in their Charter5 around 'making things easy' and 'being responsive' without the benefit of additional resources.


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