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HMRC have closed general self-assessment helpline for three months

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HMRC have closed the general self-assessment helpline 0300 200 3310 from 12 June to 4 September 2023. However, the agent dedicated line for self-assessment or PAYE for individuals remains open. HMRC are trialling directing self-assessment tax return calls to digital services, such as webchat, online guidance, HMRC app and digital assistant.

The news that HMRC have completely shut down this service for three months has come as a shock to many. With plans to reopen again five months before the self-assessment deadline of 31 January 2024, we expect the waiting times will be even longer.

Our concerns about the line closing

  1. Taxpayers with no digital access

There are a few taxpayers who struggle with the digital service. They rely on phone calls to reach HMRC to answer their queries and now have to wait until HMRC reopen the line.

  1. HMRC filing notice 2022/23 withdrawal

HMRC sent out self-assessment filing notices from 6 April 2023. However, some taxpayers are not required to file the tax return, e.g. if self-employment ceased or rental property was sold in the 2021/22 tax year. These taxpayers will have to wait until September to withdraw their notice if the digital service cannot resolve it.

  1. Payment on account due by 31 July 2023

When the taxpayer’s tax liability is more than £1,000, and when less than 80% of the total tax for the year has already been paid by deduction from your income at source, payments on account of your liability for the following year are payable. These payments on account are due by 31 January and 31 July respectively.

The second payment on account due by 31 July 2023 can be adjusted based on the actual tax liability in the 2022/23 tax year. Unfortunately, this falls within the period when HMRC’s general helpline is closed.

  1. Tax refund from HMRC

Some taxpayers have already filed their tax return for the 2022/23 tax year to claim a tax refund. Alternatively, they may be due a refund from previous tax years. The turnaround time for HMRC to pay these tax refunds can be long. We are unsure if the digital service can be helpful in this regard when, to date, their helpline service has been labelled “not satisfactory” by many.

Message from HMRC

Angela MacDonald, Deputy Chief Executive 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. 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.”

Whilst we hope that HMRC’s digital service has been significantly improved, if you’d like any help, please get in touch with your usual Larking Gowen contact. You can find contact details in the Our People section of our website. Alternatively, call 0330 024 0888 or email enquiry@larking-gowen.co.uk.

Yinchao Zou

 

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Larking Gowen

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