HMRC Closes Self-Assessment Helpline
Anyone needing to contact HMRC with tax return queries this summer could be out of luck.
HMRC announced (with just a few days’ notice) that its self-assessment helpline 0300 200 3310 will be closed from 12th June to 4th September. Callers to the line will instead be directed to use HMRC’s digital services instead, including online guidance, digital assistant and live web chat services.
Why has HMRC done this?
HMRC justified the 3 month withdrawal of the self-assessment helpline, reasoning that it gets fewer calls during the summer months, and that there 50% more calls from January to April compared with June to August.
They assert that the decision stems from their commitment to providing improved services to taxpayers and that this step will let them allocate resources more efficiently to enable better support and smoother processes in the future.
Despite HMRC’s call to consider the long-term benefits, rather than the temporary disruption, there are concerns that the closure of the helpline will negatively impact those who rely on it most, including elderly taxpayers and those with limited access to technology.
Julie Kermode runs IWORK, a platform that supports and champions UK temps, gig workers, contractors and the self-employed. She is concerned that these cohorts could be left without support because of the helpline’s summer hiatus:
“Tax is not straightforward, and we know from experience that not all taxpayer queries can be resolved online. Low earners will be disproportionately affected if they don’t have the resources to appoint an agent to help them. It seems incredibly unfair to actually close a helpline at the very time HMRC know that there will be demand for the service. Once again self-employed people are deprioritised and forgotten about.”
Where to get help
So, where should you go if you need self-assessment support over the next 3 months?
HMRC is actively promoting and directing taxpayers to its online resources as the primary means of seeking assistance. In recent years the Department has made significant investments in improving their online services, including making the HMRC website more user-friendly, enhancing its digital guidance and opening up access to live webchat services.
The HMRC website now offers a wide range of self-help tools, including comprehensive guides, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and video tutorials. These resources cover various aspects of self-assessment, providing taxpayers with step-by-step instructions on how to complete their tax returns, understand tax codes, claim deductions, and more.
For general tax queries, individuals can still access the Income Tax general enquiry line on 0300 200 3300. There is also dedicated support for those who require additional assistance or have specific needs.
Liquid Friday Contractors
Umbrella company employees don’t usually have to submit a self-assessment tax return unless they have been self-employed or have had other sources of revenue during the tax year.
However,if you are a Liquid Friday contractor and are finding it difficult to access self-assessment support from HMRC, we will do our best to connect you with the right resources and tools to resolve your query.
We also may be able to help with general enquiries relating to your tax code or employment status. You may find the articles below useful: