HMRC U-turn on helpline closures

Published: 21st March 2024

Earlier this week HMRC announced cuts to several phone services, including closing of the self-assessment helpline for six months. The intention was to allocate staff resources elsewhere and make taxpayers move to online services such as the HMRC app. The changes were supposed to be permanent, with helplines open only for priority queries at critical times. However, the announcement was met with substantial criticism from the CIOT president who described the move as “misguided”.

In response to the backlash, HMRC issued another press release stating that its plans would be halted while it engages with its stakeholders about how to ensure all taxpayers’ needs – including small businesses’ – are met as HMRC shifts more people to online self-service in the longer term. Phonelines will therefore remain open for now.

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