HMRC Self-Assessment Helpline closes for the summer
In a surprising move, the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) announced the summer closure of its Self-Assessment helpline from 12 June to 4 September 2023. This action forms part of a trial to encourage the redirection of Self-Assessment queries to HMRC’s robust digital services including online guidance, a digital assistant, and webchat services.
Scheduled during a quieter period for Self-Assessment inquiries, the helpline will reopen on 4 September 2023, five months before the Self-Assessment deadline on 31 January 2024. Historically, the volume of calls decreases by about 50% during the summer months compared to the period between January and April.
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However, this closure is expected to cause some disruption for taxpayers. The Chair of the Treasury Committee is seeking clarification that HMRC has thoroughly evaluated the costs and benefits of this decision. The short notice of the closure is also a point of concern, emphasising the need for transparency from HMRC in decision-making processes that impact numerous individuals.
In defense of the closure, HMRC highlights that this trial will reallocate 350 advisers (full-time equivalent) to handle urgent calls on other lines and respond to customer correspondence. Furthermore, HMRC points out that a significant 97% of Self-Assessment taxpayers prefer using its online services, with the same percentage filing their assessments online.
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The change will undoubtedly influence how taxpayers interact with HMRC over the summer. If you are one of the affected individuals with Self-Assessment queries, don’t hesitate to reach out. We remain ready and happy to assist you during this transitional period.
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