HMRC Phonelines to close
HMRC has announced that it will close the VAT and Corporation Tax helplines on the 3rd, 6th and 17th December to allow its staff to work on the backlog of post that has built up over the last 12 months.
Phonelines for subjects such as PAYE, Self Assessment, Employers lines and the bereavement line will remain open.
The closure comes as HMRC has been able to return much of its staff back to its core tax activities as Coronavirus support has come to an end. Over the last year HMRC has prioritised the Pandemic support schemes, Brexit and the ‘essential’ services to keep the tax system running.
The closure of the VAT line in the run-up to the filing deadline on the 7th December has been criticised, as has the closure of the Corporation Tax line as we head towards the key filing deadline for the majority of limited companies at the end of December.
HMRC’s response has been that the closures are single days and to point out that VAT filing comes more than a month after the period end, and the accounts filing deadline nine months after the year end.
For once, we agree with HMRC!
Three individual days shouldn’t make too much difference to the phone lines, but if the backlog of post can be reduced it could enable the resolution of a huge number of issues. It’s thought the backlog includes VAT registrations and corporation tax refunds.
This is a trial through December, after which HMRC will report to the public in January to outline its intentions for clearing the backlog and returning to its pre-Covid performance levels.