HMRC announces temporary closure of its Self-Assessment Helpline
In a bid to encourage taxpayers to use HMRC’s online digital resources, on 9 June HMRC announced the temporary closure of its Self Assessment Helpline (0300 200 3310) for the period 12 June to 4 September 2023.
While this transition offers several advantages in terms of efficiency and accessibility within HMRC itself, it also raises concerns about the impact on individuals who are digitally excluded. While the world is becoming increasingly interconnected, a significant portion of the beneficiaries we seek to help do face barriers to digital inclusion. The closure of the Self-Assessment Helpline can pose challenges for individuals who would typically rely on traditional support channels.
WHAT OPTIONS ARE STILL AVAILABLE TO ME?
If your matter relates to an employment or PAYE query (such as a problem with your tax code):
If your matter relates to Self Assessment (for example help with completing your tax return):
HMRC provides a wealth of information and resources on its website, which can help you find answers to common queries and provide guidance on various aspects of Self Assessment. Some information can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/self-assessment-tax-returns
HMRC offers a webchat service which allows you to engage in real-time conversation and receive personalized assistance for your queries. This service can currently be accessed here - https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/ask-hmrc/chat/self-assessment?_ga=2.150236150.1948395210.1686908986-1942553484.1684915401
If you have a personal tax account, you can find out certain information such as your Unique Taxpayer Reference and your PAYE tax records by logging in.
You can get extra support if your health condition or personal circumstances make it difficult for you to contact HMRC using the above methods. If you need extra support, you can phone HMRC on 0300 200 3300 and ask to speak to the Extra Support Team.
If you prefer written communication, you can send a letter to HMRC addressing your Self Assessment query. You should send your letter to Self Assessment, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AS. Please note, HMRC has recently experienced long delays with the postal system but we understand HMRC has worked hard to reduce the backlog and, although there may still be delays, these should now be much shorter.
For more information on the closure of the HMRC self-assessment helpline we recommend reading this article published by the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group: Read more about this here
If you’re still experiencing problems:
The online services helpdesk can assist if you need help with HMRC’s online services, cannot use them or are having trouble accessing your account. Please note that this line will not give tax advice.
It's important to note that response times may vary depending on the method of communication you choose. HMRC receives a high volume of enquiries, so it's advisable to submit your query well in advance of any deadlines or time-sensitive matters to allow for sufficient processing time. Please do contact us if you are struggling.
This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. It will be available for 3 months, but may be extended. For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme
The tax charities TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People can help if you have questions around eligibility and can help with your 2018/19 tax return if you haven't yet submitted it. Go to https://taxvol.org.uk/index.php/coronavirus-support-for-the-self-employed to find out more.
In order to encourage more taxpayer to file online, HMRC will no longer be automatically sending out paper tax return forms. For those unable to file online, paper forms can still be printed off from HMRC's website or requested by phone from HMRC.
HMRC is aware that some taxpayers are being targeted by scammers on the back of the coronavirus epidemic.
If you receive an email or phone call claiming to be from HMRC saying that you are owed a tax refund, which then asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam. Please do NOT click on any links, but instead forward any suspicious emails to email@example.com and send suspicious texts to 60599.
HMRC has more guidance on its website.
Around 163,000 people have signed up to the government’s Help to Save saving scheme – depositing more than £53 million. Savers can earn 50p for every £1 they save with the Help to Save scheme.
To find out more, click HERE.
HMRC has asked us to alert our users to a scam which targets taxpayers and seems to be aimed at the elderly in particular. We have been asked to share the following information:
There is currently a telephone scam where a recorded message is left, allegedly from HMRC, stating that HMRC are bringing a lawsuit against the individual and is going to sue them. The recipient is asked to phone back and press “1” to speak to the officer dealing with the case. This scam is becoming widely reported and seems to be targeting older people. Please do not reply to the message.
HMRC takes security very seriously but you need to be alert. If you cannot verify the identity of the person making the call you should not disclose your personal details. You should report these incidents on the Action Fraud website, or you can call them on 0300 123 2040 (Please note this number will be charged at your normal network rate). They are open Monday to Friday 09:00 - 18:00.
Following a successful pilot, HMRC and Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) have signed an agreement to continue working together for the next three years, in an initiative aimed at making HMRC’s services more accessible to deaf people.
Current services will continue, including the website www.royaldeaftax.org.uk where deaf people can find information on tax and tax credits in British Sign Language (BSL).
RAD will continue to provide advice in BSL via webcam to clients throughout England and Wales. The project also includes a video interpreting service, enabling deaf customers to contact HMRC using a BSL interpreter, again via webcam.
RAD will also work with HMRC to promote important tax information to the deaf community, such as Marriage Allowance.
Plans are under way to develop the service to give deaf customers even more control. A new website and a user-friendly “choose and book” app for advice and interpreting appointments, is scheduled to be ready in the new year.
Jan Sheldon, RAD’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that HMRC will continue to work with us to make their service accessible to deaf customers. The pilot project won accolades and we see this as an example of how government departments can be proactive in providing equality of access to deaf people.”
An increase in the state pension rate is among a number of welfare reforms to come into effect throughout April 2018.
For people on qualifying benefits, Funeral Expenses Payments contribute towards the cost of arranging a funeral. From 2 April 2018, it has been made simpler for people to claim a Funeral Expenses Payment. Changes include extending the period in which a claim can be made and allowing recipients to receive contributions from friends and family without them being deducted from the payment.
To help workers to save for their future, the automatic enrolment pension contribution rates also increased from 2% to 5% on 6 April 2018.
Automatic enrolment was created to help people with their long-term pension savings and works by requiring employers to enrol all eligible staff into a workplace pension. An estimated 10 million people will be newly saving or saving more later this year and the increase in minimum contribution rates will build on this success.
The State Pension has also increased from 9 April, in line with the ‘triple lock'. The full basic State Pension was put up by 3% to £125.95 a week. This means that the government will have raised the full basic State Pension by £1,450 a year since 2010. The full rate of the new State Pension also increased by 3%, to £164.35 a week.
We've recently been made aware of someone receiving an email that looks like it has come from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). They appear to be sent from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tax Help for Older People/Tax Volunteers never send unsolicited emails.
If you receive any unexpected emails that look like they've come from us, please get in touch. Either give us a call on one of the numbers shown at the top of every page of this website, or use the contact form. As soon as you have done this, delete the email. Do not reply to it and don't click any links in the email.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will never use emails to:
Check HMRC’s guidance on recognising scams if you’re not sure.
Forward suspicious emails to email@example.com.
HMRC offers many ways of dealing with tax through its website. The most important of which is the 'Personal Tax Account. It's a convenient way to manage tax credits and benefits and confirm details of your National Insurance number.
New services are being added all the time. From today (Monday, 1 August 2016) you can use your Personal Tax Account to check your end of year PAYE tax position and see if you’ve paid too much or too little tax.
PAYE tax is based on the information that HMRC hold. If that information is out of date or incomplete, tax collected over the year may be wrong. Each year the tax man carries out an end of year reconciliation for everyone and then writes to anyone who has paid too much or too little tax.
For the first time, if you've paid too much tax, you will be invited to fill out your bank details so that HMRC can pay back what they owe straight into your account.
Of course, a Personal Tax Account won’t work for everyone. For those with slightly more complex situations, such as where you have nominated someone else to receive any repayment, or if you can’t get online, HMRC continue to offer their existing services.
From Monday 1 August some of us may see a slight change to the end of year reconciliation letter (P800). If you'd like to see what it might look like, [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=250 linktext='click here' /].
As you can see it encourages us to use our Personal Tax Accounts.
In the first two weeks of August, HMRC will test how this works with some of us who are due a tax rebate. Then, providing everything is working as it should, from 22 August, everyone who has paid too much tax will receive a letter inviting them to use their Personal Tax Account to get a rebate quicker.
Later this the year HMRC will introduce an online payment service for people who haven’t paid enough tax through PAYE.
If you would like help to get into your Personal Tax Account, click here