HMRC to trial seasonal Self Assessment helpline
We have announced that we are piloting a new seasonal model for the Self Assessment (SA) helpline, to prioritise helping those with urgent queries.
For three months from 12 June, 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 around 350 advisers to support customers online, take urgent calls on other lines, and answer customer correspondence.
The vast majority of SA customers already use our online services. 97 per cent file online, and only one per cent of HMRC customers are digitally excluded.
The helpline will re-open on 4 September this year, so in addition to the online support available, customers can call us in the five months running up to the SA deadline on 31 January 2024.
Further information about the announcement can be found on GOV.UK.
SMS text messages continue to help customers find support online
In May, we expanded our SMS text service where callers to HMRC are given a digital alternative to answer their queries rather than staying on the line.
We’ve now added more topics to this service where customers calling our helplines will be given the option to use a link sent via text message for a quicker answer or remain on the phone if preferred.
From 6 June, these topics will include:
- Tax Credit renewal change of circumstances
- Tax Credit renewal no changes to report
- Child Benefit reference number
- Child Benefit new online claim
- Child Benefit change of bank details
- change of address
- register for Self Assessment
- check import duty on an overseas parcel
- VAT repayments
- ending Self Assessment
We’ll continue to automatically redirect routine queries where this SMS service is already in place and expect to add more common queries to the service over the coming months, to help customers find answers quickly and easily.
Your clients and members can check if a text message they’ve received from HMRC is genuine on GOV.UK.
Claiming Child Benefit is now quicker and easier online for new parents
Our new online Child Benefit claims service means the majority of parents can now claim for a first or additional child at a time that suits them, on GOV.UK and be paid quicker.
Parents can claim as much as £1,248 a year for their first child, which could add up to almost £20,000 by the time they’re 16. They could also receive nearly £827 a year for any other children they have.
By logging in to their Government Gateway account – or taking just a few minutes to set one up if using our services for the first time – a straightforward online claim (for example a new baby under six months old and registered in the UK) could see their first payment made in as little as three working days, rather than waiting weeks previously.
We know how important this payment can be to families, so we’d really appreciate if you could share this information with your clients and members to support and encourage them to claim online.