Telephone and headset on desk

Association backs helpline restrictions pause

20 March, 2024

The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) has welcomed a decision by HMRC to put planned helpline closures on hold.

HMRC announced yesterday it would implement a series of cuts to telephone helplines including closing the self-assessment helpline from early April to September, with taxpayers being directed to online services instead.

However, the tax office has now halted the plan while they consider how best to help taxpayers harness online services.

Senga Prior, chair of the Association of Taxation Technicians' Technical Steering Group:

“We welcome the decision to pause planned closures and restrictions to taxpayer helplines. The message we continue to receive from members is that HMRC’s digital provision is not yet good enough.

“We continue to support HMRC’s ambition to push more taxpayers towards digital platforms, but until these services are up to scratch, we believe helplines should remain open.

“Halting the changes is also welcome as it is too soon to tell if the lack of telephone advice last year affected the ability of taxpayers to make complete and accurate returns. We are concerned that the accuracy of returns could decline if taxpayers struggle to get advice from HMRC.

“We were also pleased to see that HMRC will engage with stakeholders over future plans, and hope to contribute in those discussions. Proper consultation at the start of this process may have avoided the need for today’s pause.”

Notes for editors:

  1. HMRC helpline changes halted (HMRC press release, 20 March 2024).