HMRC to trial seasonal Self Assessment helpline

A trial to redirect Self Assessment queries from the helpline to HMRC’s digital services will run between 12 June and 4 September 2023.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will pilot a new seasonal model for the Self Assessment (SA) helpline, to prioritise helping those with urgent queries.

For 3 months from 12 June 2023, HMRC will trial directing SA queries from the helpline to the department’s digital services, including its online guidance, digital assistant and webchat.

This will free up 350 advisers (full-time equivalent) to take urgent calls on other lines and answer customer correspondence. If focused on urgent calls, these advisers will answer around 6,600 each day, ensuring more customers who really need to speak to an adviser can do so.

The vast majority of SA customers use HMRC’s online services, with 97% filing online, and only 1% of HMRC customers are digitally excluded.

The helpline will re-open on 4 September 2023 so customers can receive expert support in the 5 months running up to the SA deadline on 31 January 2024.

Angela MacDonald, Deputy CEO and Second Permanent Secretary at HMRC, said: “We continually review our services to see how they can best serve the public and we are taking steps to improve them.”

“A seasonal SA helpline will make more of our expert advisers available where they are most needed during the summer months.”

“Our online services, including the HMRC app, are quick and easy to use and have been significantly improved. I urge customers to explore these fully before deciding to wait to speak to us on the phone.”

The SA helpline receives far fewer calls over the summer, with calls around 50% higher between January and April compared with June to August.

Around two-thirds of all SA calls can be resolved by customers themselves online while HMRC will increase the advisers available on webchat, the Online Service Helpline and the Extra Support Team Helpline.

HMRC will continue to transform its online services, increasing their capabilities and ease of use so they become the default option for the vast majority of customers.