HMRC has announced that it will be temporarily closing its self assessment helpline from 12 June until 4 September 2023.

The announcement is an unexpected one and gives taxpayers just four days’ warning.

The Revenue has stated that the reason behind the decision is because they’re trialling a seasonal model for the helpline. While it’s closed, taxpayers will be redirected to its digital services which includes a digital assistant, the webchat function and general online guidance.

Defending the sudden and controversial announcement, HMRC says that closing the helpline will free up 350 full-time advisers who will be able to answer up to 6,600 calls in other areas. They also argue that the self assessment helpline receives fewer calls during the summer months.

Concerns have been raised about the fact that the helpline will be closed when taxpayers are due to make payments on account by 31 July.

President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), Gary Ashford commented:

“By shutting down one of the best used helplines for the summer, HMRC is putting up a further barrier to people being able to easily get their tax right, eroding a fundamental principle of HMRC’s own Charter.”

He continued:

“This is another clear indicator that HMRC can’t cope with everything it is being tasked to do, and simply cannot meet the demands of a growing and ever more complex tax system.”

Other industry experts are concerned that the closure could lead to issues with the January tax deadline. If people can’t get answers to their queries now, they may push it back until later in the year which will naturally put more pressure on the self assessment helpline when it reopens.

Calls are now being made to Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt urging him to prioritise investment in HMRC because ‘customer service levels have fallen to an unacceptably low level.’

If you have any questions or concerns about the closure of the self assessment helpline, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with PKB. We are here all year round to support your tax needs.



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