HMRC helpline changes on hold

HMRC has been forced into an embarrassing climbdown on plans to close the Self-Assessment, VAT and PAYE helplines from early April until September this year. HMRC has now confirmed that these helpline changes have been abandoned following feedback from many concerned stakeholders, including MPs, accountants and members of the public. This means that the helplines will remain open as usual for the time being.

However, these moves indicate that a significant shift towards online self-service options will become the norm in the longer term. HMRC has also said that they will continue encouraging customers to self-serve where possible and access the information they need more quickly and easily by going online or to the HMRC app, which is available 24/7.

HMRC’s Chief Executive said:

‘Making best use of online services allows HMRC to help more taxpayers and get the most out of every pound of taxpayers’ money by boosting productivity.

Our helpline and webchat advisers will always be there for those taxpayers who need support because they are vulnerable, digitally excluded or have complex affairs.

However, the pace of this change needs to match the public appetite for managing their tax affairs online.

We’ve listened to the feedback and we’re halting the helpline changes as we recognise more needs to be done to ensure all taxpayers’ needs are met, whilst also encouraging them to transition to online services.’

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