HMRC customer service reductions

HMRC Staffing Changes and Customer Service Reductions

With reduced support from HMRC this month, getting help may not be so easy. If you haven’t already, ensure you’re well prepared for your self assessment.

In recent times, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has undergone significant staffing changes, affecting its customer service operations. These changes have implications for individuals and taxpayers, particularly during the self-assessment tax return season.

In this article, we will delve into what HMRC has done and is doing regarding staffing levels and the impact on taxpayers, as well as provide some valuable tips for navigating these changes.

Staffing Reductions at HMRC

HMRC has recently reduced its customer service staff numbers from 25,500 to 19,500. This reduction in personnel has raised concerns among taxpayers about the accessibility and efficiency of HMRC’s services, especially during peak times such as the self-assessment tax return period.

Limited Access to Self-Assessment Helpline

One of the most significant changes affecting taxpayers is the temporary reduction in access to HMRC’s self-assessment tax return helpline. Starting from the 11th of December and lasting until the 31st of January, HMRC will prioritise complex queries, and most callers with self-assessment tax return questions will be directed to use the online services.

This means that during this period, individuals and taxpayers seeking assistance with their tax returns may not have the same level of phone support as they did in the past. Instead, they will be encouraged to find answers to their queries through HMRC’s online resources.

Revised Tips for Individuals and Taxpayers Considering the Timing

Immediate Action

Given that the changes to HMRC’s services were announced in mid-December, it’s essential to take immediate action if you haven’t already. Start reviewing your tax documents, gather necessary information, and begin the self-assessment process promptly.

Prioritise Complex Matters

Recognise that HMRC will prioritise complex queries during this period. If you have a straightforward personal tax return, consider using the online resources first before attempting to contact HMRC. This ensures that those with more complex issues receive the necessary assistance.

Online Resources

HMRC’s online resources, such as guides and FAQs, remain a valuable source of information. Use these to your advantage, as they can provide quick answers to many common personal tax questions.

Consultation with Professionals

If you’re unsure about any aspect of your personal tax return or have specific concerns, seek professional advice promptly. Accountants and tax advisors can help assess your situation and provide guidance tailored to your needs.

Monitor Deadlines

Keep a close eye on important tax deadlines, especially the self-assessment deadline on 31st January. With limited phone support, it’s crucial not to miss these deadlines to avoid penalties.

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In Conclusion

While HMRC’s staffing reductions and temporary changes to the self-assessment helpline may present challenges for individuals and taxpayers, taking immediate action, utilising online resources, seeking professional advice, and monitoring deadlines are crucial steps to navigate these changes effectively.

Staying informed and proactive in managing your personal tax affairs is key for a smooth tax season experience.

Need some help?

Tax can be complicated and can bring unnecessary stress to your new year.  Franks Accountants can help provide you with the reassurance that your self-assessment tax return is correct and submitted on time. We provide fixed fees and competitive pricing, taking away the hassle of completing this yourself.

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