HMRC’s resourcing problems are catching up with them. The tax authority has announced that the self-assessment helpline will be closed until September. What do you do if you have a serious question?
Don’t have a tax agent or accountant? Good luck getting in touch with HMRC this summer.
HMRC has announced that the self-assessment helpline 0300 200 3310 will be closed from 12 June to 4 September 2023. Callers to that line will be directed to use HMRC’s online services including digital assistant and webchat.
The ICAEW understands that the decision to close the self-assessment helpline during a period in which there is less demand will allow HMRC to provide a better service on its PAYE and Tax Credits helplines.
Tax agents and accountants however will be able to act on your behalf through an agent-dedicated line (ADL) with self-assessment-related queries, so the closure will mainly impact unrepresented taxpayers, says the ICAEW.
If you need to ask for a tax return to be issued or withdrawn, you will need to check online whether you need to complete a self-assessment tax return. Taxpayers who need to register for self-assessment should follow the online guidance.
What if you think you don’t need to file?
Many people may not realise that where a tax return has been issued but there is no requirement to file, the taxpayer or their agent will need to request that the return is formally withdrawn. It is not currently possible to do this online, according to the ICAEW.
“Taxpayers can either use HMRC’s digital assistant and webchat, write to HMRC or wait to phone in September. Agents can request the withdrawal of tax returns through the ADL,” said ICAEW.
“The situation is obviously very serious but given the state of the public finances, it seems unlikely that HMRC will be allocated any additional resource, ” said the Faculty.
The ICAEW explained, “The agent line is being protected, so the impact will be mainly on unrepresented taxpayers, particularly those with queries on payments on account due on 31 July 2023, those who receive self-assessment penalty notices (which are issued in bulk in mid-August) and those who are waiting for self-assessment repayments.”
If you need paper forms you’ll also have to download those online since HMRC doesn’t supply blank forms to agents.
However, if you do need extra support you can reach HMRC’s extra support team via webchat or by phoning any HMRC helpline, like the income tax general queries line 0300 200 3300.