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02 Dec 2021

Changes to CT and VAT Phones lines during December

In December, HMRC will run a trial of reducing the hours on some of their telephone services so that we can dedicate the time to work post that has built up over the past year. 

To test the approach, they will close their VAT and CT phone lines (with the exception of the bereavement line) on 3,10 and 17‌‌ ‌December.  

Why has HMRC done this? 

As you know, over the course of the pandemic, HMRC made choices about the work they prioritised in order to protect their essential services and the livelihoods of their customer groups who need them the most. They prioritised the COVID-19 support schemes, the UK’s smooth transition from the European Union and the essential services that keep the tax system running.  

HMRC are in a year of recovery and are making solid progress. In the first half of the year, they focused on stabilising their phone services and their tax credits/child benefit services – while they maintained their customs services well within targets and supported the smooth running of the COVID-19 support schemes until they closed in October.  

Recently, they’ve been able to move more resources back into their core tax activities now that the COVID-19 schemes have ended, and they’re adding further capacity through temporary recruits (contingent labour). 

HMRC are now working through the stocks of posts that built up over the past year. They are doing this while keeping their helpline service levels and processing stable, and making sure they are prepared for key events in the coming weeks, like the Self Assessment peak and the introduction of EU full customs controls in January. 

By April, they expect to be delivering normal (pre-pandemic) performance on their core service lines – in terms of the work they have on hand, their turnaround times and the running of their real-time channels. 

What happens next? 

As with any trial, they’ll keep a close eye on their progress, responding to any issues as they go. Towards the end of December, they’ll take a view on what to do next and update you in the first week of January. 

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