How to contact HMRC: Tax Faculty guide

The ICAEW Tax Faculty has published a comprehensive guide to contacting HMRC.

Branded as ICAEW TAXtools1, the guide can be downloaded as a PDF and includes telephone numbers, email facilities, postal addresses. It also lists useful HMRC website links, ranging from paying tax and child benefit and tax credits to reporting tax evasion and online forms.

AccountingWEB and Tax Faculty member Shirley Martin comments: “Not only does it give contact details, but it also gives lots more general advice including such things as the list of security questions that HMRC will ask you when you call them. Anyone can access it. You don't have to be a Tax Faculty member.

“As they used to say of ‘Cosmopolitan’ - miss it, miss out.”

Comments

@ nickhuber: Can AWEB provide HMRC's FAX numbers, please?

dstickl | | Permalink

Hi nickhuber!   Thank you for this useful list!

However, could AWEB provide HMRC's FAX numbers, please, because this would save hanging on the phone, and some accounting professionals prefer things set out in writing?

Rightly or wrongly, I understand that HMRC fax numbers are published in Tolley's Tax Office Directory, but I regret that I do not have this to hand.

taxhound's picture

Fantastic!

taxhound | | Permalink

This is really useful.  Can the Collector of Taxes be added?

John Stokdyk's picture

It's not an AccountingWEB document    1 thanks

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

... but we certainly appreciate what the Tax Faculty has done.

@dstickl - Thanks for the suggestion about adding fax numbers. If you look at the last paragraph of the TAXtools1 document, it says: "Please email philippa.stedman@icaew.com if you find any of the telephone numbers or information is out of date, or to suggest other useful contact details. We will update the information regularly."

I'm sure she'd be pleased to hear from you!

mydoghasfleas's picture

The curse of 0845 numbers

mydoghasfleas | | Permalink

I saw the headline and thought things were on the up. 

Could it be a telephone directory that has the geographical telephone numbers where my call provider charges me fractions of a penny per minute instead of the 0845 numbers with their interminable menus each of which is preceded by the phrase, "All right" when we all no it is far from it for which I am charged about 5p per minute?  Only then to be held in queue listening to some beardy introverted jazz guitar piece suitable only to accompany you slashing your wrists when you realise this is the fifth time round on the one call.

Alternatively was it a guide to how to speak to the poor wretch in a call centre with no access to records, who can at best, "send an email to the person dealing with it" when they have absolutely no idea who that person is and in most cases could not care even if they did.

Perhaps it is a guide to how to write a letter and remove all traces of anger, sarcasm and irony so you write the letter that you need to write rather than the letter you want to write.

So ultimately, I was disappointed on seeing that it was a decent version of the "Contact us" on the HMRC website, which, if HMRC cared, it should have produced but it does not so the Institute did, for which I offer my thanks.

Now just three things

1 Most advisers use pre bundled call packages which allow cheap or "free" calls to geographical numbers but not to 0345 and 0845 numbers.  We are paying more than should be necessary if HMRC used geographical numbers.

2 Useful tips for letters includes "Place any cheques on top, but if there are no cheques attached the letter should be on top."  If I put a cheque on top how can you see the address through the window envelope?

3 Last year I rang a geographical number on a letter from HMRC Accounts Office Shipley.  The person who answered the call confirmed it was the correct number I had dialled but all of the work had transferred to Cumbernauld.  I was given an alternative number which I called.  I queried why they did not overprint the address and number on the letter rather than have people call the incorrect number.  The response was the change of details was printed on the envelope.  Who got the suggestion box prize for that one?

charliecarne's picture

Useful document

charliecarne | | Permalink

Very useful. Thank you for the link. Good to see that HMRC are encouraging email and telephone in preference to the post, though very few departments are accessible via email so far. But HMRC are moving in the right direction.

Now, if only HMRC would launch ADLs for VAT, CT and employer's PAYE, that would save us a lot of time. I wasn't previously aware of the AAM service. Maybe that will help. Is there a reason for restricting ADLs to just SA (and individual PAYE) queries?

Now that HMRC have launched a single login for businesses to access their VAT, PAYE, CT, SA etc from one place, they should extend that facilty to the agents' login asap. Current agents' login lacks some of the functionality of the businesses' own login, such as PAYE payment allocation.

The guidance given on page 3 regarding verifying HMRC when they call us is not too helpful, as the only questions that we are apparently allowed to ask are the date of a previous call (not relevant if HMRC instigate the issue), date of issue of a SA assessment (not available to us when looking at the client's affairs online), name of staff member (how is that a verifiable piece of information?) and telephone number of caller (often an 0845 switchboard and, if we insist upon calling back, we can be kept on hold for ages and the subsequent HMRC official often won't know why the first person called us). Why can we not ask them to identify, for example, the SA reference, as that should only be known by the taxpayer, their agent and HMRC?

charliecarne's picture

@ mydoghasfleas

charliecarne | | Permalink

I agree with you that 0845 numbers are an abomination and extremely expensive, especially from mobile phones. However, 0345 numbers (like any number starting with 03) must by law be included in any pre-bundled call package and will thus cost the same as any UK geographic number. HMRC and all govt bodies should be moving all their numbers to the 03 range.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-geographic_telephone_numbers_in_the_Uni...
http://media.ofcom.org.uk/2007/02/13/ofcom-introduces-uk-wide-03-numbers/

BT offer calls from their landlines to 0845 and 0870 (but not 0871 or 0844, which are increasingly marketed these days) as part of the same package as geographic numbers (i.e. free if you have unlimited landline calls or charged at same rate if on a pay-per-call tariff). Some (but not all) other landline providers do the same. To the best of my knowledge, all mobile operators charge for almost all calls to 08 numbers (even to many 0800 so-called freephone numbers) and do not include them in any bundled minutes.

I had a client a few years ago who had very high monthly costs on her mobile phone. I reviewed her bills and saw that she regularly called an 0845 number. I asked her what that number was and she told me that it was her office's advertised number and she called in every day from the road. I suggested that she dial the (unadvertised to the public) geographic number for her office instead (she wasn't aware that there was one) and her mobile phone bills fell by nearly £200 per month! She spent just as much time calling the office, but the change in number used made a dramatic cost saving. This one piece of advice went some way towards covering my fees, so the client was very happy!

mydoghasfleas's picture

0345

mydoghasfleas | | Permalink

Thank you for the 0345 advice.  He may have fleas but he's just learned a new trick

Fantastically useful all round!

anndartnall | | Permalink

Thanks All.