HMRC to close phone lines for 6 months a year

HMRC has announced that it is suspending its phone lines over the summer period, which means that for a six month period from April 8 until September 29, taxpayers will be unable to call the tax office for help with their tax affairs.

The move by HMRC is part of a continued effort to encourage taxpayers to use online help tools to answer their enquiries, including setting up personal tax accounts to manage their tax affairs.

The six-month closure will coincide with an “annualised hours” pilot scheme that will involve some customer service staff working reduced hours during the quieter summer period, so that they can work extra hours over the busy winter period.

HMRC has increasingly been encouraging taxpayers to move to online services on the back of the increased online engagement with taxpayers during the pandemic.

Professional bodies have however expressed concern that the online services, including the digital assistant, are not yet at the standard required to support a forced channel shift to digital.

I would be interested to hear what my Linked-in contacts think about this announcement and the impact it will have?