As a trial, HMRC’s Self-Assessment (SA) helpline was closed on 12 June 2023 and will not reopen until 4 September 2023.
During this period HMRC will be directing calls to the departments digital services, including it’s online guidance, digital assistance and webchat.
HMRC states the reason for it’s decision is that it receives far fewer calls between June and August and will free up the equivalent of 350 full time advisors to take on urgent calls on other lines and answer customer correspondence.
Angela MacDonald, Deputy CEO and Second Permanent Secretary at HMRC, said:
- We continually review our services to see how they can best serve the public and we are taking steps to improve them.
- A seasonal SA helpline will make more of our expert advisers available where they are most needed during the summer months.
- Our online services, including the HMRC app, are quick and easy to use and have been significantly improved. I urge customers to explore these fully before deciding to wait to speak to us on the phone.
Despite HMRC’s comments, the closure is sure to be a big inconvenience to taxpayers and it raises the question whether some tax payers who would have contacted the helpline, will simply wait until it reopens. This could put greater pressure on the helpline running up to the 31 January 2024 deadline.
It could also potentially lead to an increase in incorrect tax returns as tax payers simply go with what they think is right, rather than contacting the helpline for help and advice.