Recent changes to HMRC’s Self-Assessment services

HMRC is updating how it supports taxpayers and tax agents through the Self-Assessment helpline and Agent Dedicated Line. From December 11th, HMRC will direct callers with simple queries to use online self-service options which can provide quicker resolutions without waiting to speak to an advisor.

The vast majority, over 97%, of taxpayers filed Self-Assessment returns online last year. Overall satisfaction with HMRC’s online services exceeds 80%. However, HMRC estimates two-thirds of helpline calls relate to issues that could be addressed more rapidly through online tools. Examples include updating personal details, registering for Self-Assessment, ending a Self-Assessment registration, or checking one’s Unique Taxpayer Reference number.

Between December 11th and January 31st, HMRC is prioritising available helpline resources to support the peak Self-Assessment filing period. Calls unrelated to filing, payments or repayments will be redirected to alternative service channels. This means that during this period, tax agents calling about matters such as PAYE will need to use other options like webchat for assistance.

HMRC encourages agents to first utilise online tools to resolve many common PAYE queries. For example, the Income Record Viewer or Where’s My Reply tool. For complex PAYE issues that require an advisor callback, agents can request this through the HMRC virtual assistant and webchat.

HMRC will resume normal helpline operations for tax agents after the January Self-Assessment deadline.

Finally, HMRC has discontinued notification letters about Self-Assessment repayment issues. Taxpayers will still receive electronic repayments as usual but will no longer receive a confirmatory letter which often arrived after the repayment date, causing confusion.