Taxpayers urged not to call HMRC helplines

Taxpayers urged not to call HMRC helplines

Dec 5, 2023

HMRC is calling on anyone completing self-assessment tax returns to avoid phone calls about basic questions.

HMRC is attempting to deter self-assessment taxpayers from calling the helpline as online support they said there is plenty of information online to deal with the most common questions.

This comes after HMRC announced plans to shut 30% of its call centres by December 2024.

The move is part of a general push to make taxpayers use online services, claiming they would get ‘an easier and quicker resolution to queries’, describing online as the ‘most effective method’ to communicate.

Last year HMRC received 5.5 million calls with 1.2m of these coming in the final eight weeks before the 31 January deadline. Many of these calls were simple questions which could have been dealt with online.

The five most asked questions were, do I need to fill in a tax return? How do I fill in my online tax return? How do I check how much tax I owe? Where’s my self-assessment tax refund? And, what happens if I cannot pay my tax bill?

HMRC said all this information was easily available online and points taxpayers to a YouTube channel called HMRCgovuk with easy-to-understand videos on tax queries.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s director general for customer services, said: ‘There is no need to spend time waiting to speak to us. Using our online services for simple queries about your tax return means you can get the help you need quickly. We have a wealth of free resources and support online to help you complete your tax return.’