Personal and business Tax

HMRC shuts phone lines to deal with backlog

HMRC has announced that it will be closing its telephone lines for 3 days during December, to redirect staff time into dealing with a backlog of letters and queries. The phone lines are those primarily dealing with VAT and Corporation tax queries but other services may also be affected as the department tries to deal with a backlog that has built up during the pandemic.

To put the issue into context, individuals, agents and companies contacting HMRC during the week commencing 29th November 2021, were being advised they could expect a reply by mid-June 2022. Having tried to contact HMRC ourselves in the last week, we were given a target response date of June 28th 2022.

Whilst only three dates for telephone line closures have currently been announced, HMRC has made it clear that it is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic service levels until late Spring/early summer 2022.

Existing and new tax queries

If you have an open dispute or query with HMRC, the advice is to continue to await a response. If you have received an incorrect penalty notice or need to open a new query with the tax office, you should do so as normal, but be aware that you are unlikely to get a response inside 6 months.

At this stage no clarification has been given regarding penalty fees or interest charges which accrue during this period but maintaining a record of dated communications is recommended to evidence any claims. Individuals and companies are advised not to use news of the backlog as a reason to avoid their normal tax reporting and payment obligations.

If you are in anyway unsure how this new may affect you or you need to raise a tax query, please remember that we can act as your HMRC agent, managing all queries on your behalf. To discuss your personal affairs, please contact us today.