Relaunch of Agent Dedicated Line

On 11 June, HMRC issued the following update about the relaunch of the Agent Dedicated Line which we are pleased to share with members. 

"HMRC’s work has been at the centre of the government’s response to COVID-19. Whether that’s by administering the support schemes, changing our operational approach or through more than 80 other policy changes.

Providing this support has been resource intensive and this has had implications for our day-to-day operations. We have strived to maintain our levels of customer service but acknowledge that we have not been able to offer the level of service that we would like, particularly on the Agent Dedicated Line.

Relaunch of Agent Dedicated Line

We are pleased that we are now able to trial a relaunch of the Agent Dedicated Line. To help us provide priority access for agents, we are expecting agents to use digital services where these are available and to get information from clients where this is possible.

We are trialling a prioritised support service from 14 J‌un‌e 2021 (Mo‌nd‌ay to Fr‌id‌ay 8‌‌‌am to 6‌‌‌pm on 0300‌‌ 200 33‌‌‌11) and we expect calls to this line to be answered within 10 minutes. It will help us to maintain the service, if agents spread calls throughout the day rather than phoning as soon as the helpline opens. We’ll keep your representative bodies informed about how we perform against this target.

We want to remind you of the following digital services:

  • progress chasing – our 'Where's My Reply?' tool for tax agents, tells you when you will get a reply on PAYE and SA returns and correspondence, and we have recently done some work to make it more reliable. We are currently looking to add other taxes and will tell you as soon as we have done so. You can contact the helpline if the expected reply date has passed
  • report a phishing email, phone call or scam text
  • report a death
  • request an SA302 (for mortgage applications)
  • your clients can get information on their pay and tax and employment histories in their Personal Tax Account. We are working on developing services to allow agents to access this information – see below.

Where you can get the information you need from your client, that’s what we expect you to do.

Where there are digital services, we expect you to use them. We won’t be offering phone support for these services, other than when you need support to get you back online.

Service developments

We will continue to develop more digital services for agents, with a view to materially reducing your need to phone us. Examples of some that we are currently working on are:

  • forms processing – we are looking at ways to process claims more efficiently. We’re working with our IT colleagues on how we can use scanning technology to help us improve the processing of R40 (PPI interest taxed at source) and other high demand forms
  • agent authorisation processes – longer term, we are looking at ways to streamline agent client authorisation processes while retaining security and GDPR requirements, developing smoother access to client information
  • Agent Income Record Viewer – HMRC has developed an Agent Income Record Viewer service, which provides agents with their client’s pay and tax details, employment history and tax code details. It involves a digital handshake which needs to be completed by your client; this is to protect your client’s security and comply with our GDPR obligations.

This tool is still in private beta testing and so is limited to a small number of agents but we can now extend the service to a further 200 agents. If you would like to be part of this trial, please contact hmrcirvrequest [at] hmrc.gov.uk (subject: Agent%20Income%20Record%20Viewer%20-%20trial%20request) (Denise Beat). We hope to be able to extend this service to all agents in the future.

Thank you for patience during the pandemic. We will continue to develop these services and keep you updated." 

ATT comments

Over the past year members have raised a number of concerns with us about the challenges of contacting HMRC by phone that we, together with other professional bodies, have raised with HMRC.  Thank you to all members who took the time to share their experiences. We hope this new development will be a positive step for agents, although agents do need to be aware that in order to provide this improved standard of service, HMRC are asking agents to make full use of any available digital services before contacting them by phone. 

We will be speaking with HMRC in a few weeks to discuss how matters are progressing and we would welcome any feedback - good or bad - that members have on the relaunched service. Please contact us at atttechnical [at] att.org.uk to let us know your experiences of the relaunched line. 

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