Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (‘HMRC’) have now completed a 7 month pilot scheme, held across the North East of England, whereby they closed existing HMRC Enquiry Centres and instead offered those requiring extra help with tax-related issues assistance in a different, more tailored way. With the pilot scheme now complete and deemed a success, all Enquiry Centres across the UK will be closed by 30 June 2014 (just a few days away at time of writing) in favour of the new, more tailored system.
Since the end of May, HMRC have already been rolling out the replacement service, being “a new way to support people who need extra help to get their taxes, tax credits and child benefit entitlements right”. The new service will be more tailored to individual needs and will apparently be more efficient than the Enquiry Centres, which have seen demand drastically falling over recent years. So evidently the new service is also about saving the Government money, which is good to see as it helps to reduce the UK’s overall tax burden and mitigates possible tax increases.
The Replacement Service
The replacement service will be available by telephone or face-to-face via a mobile squad of advisers, who will deal with you on the telephone, visit your home or meet you within your local community, if preferred. The HMRC specialist involved will try to resolve, as fully as possible, all tax and tax credit-related queries during the course of the initial session. This will be aided by liaison, during that session, between the adviser and other experts from different departments within HMRC; the aim being to avoid the need for the customer to deal with multiple advisers in multiple departments.
So this is about identifying those who really require the extra help and then serving them the very best, tailored service. And, of course, HMRC in turn saving money by significantly reducing overheads due to no longer having to maintain physical Enquiry Centres. The 1,300 staff previously working within the closing centres will be offered either employment within the new service, a voluntary exit from HMRC on favourable terms, or an application for possible redeployment elsewhere within HMRC. More information on all of the above is available at the HMRC site here.
Meanwhile Taxfile is *always* there to help with your tax-related queries and issues and, unlike the HMRC Enquiry Centres, will not be going anywhere any time soon! We have several offices always available in South London (Tulse Hill & Dulwich) along with our own mobile tax expert who travels along the corridor from London to Exeter regularly so can meet up with those who are at either location, or anywhere in between, so as to give them help with the more complicated tax issues which are not fixable in a short phone call. For more information contact Taxfile here.