HMRC 0845 numbers to go by December

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HMRC's 0845 helpline numbers will be no more from December 2014, as they swap all lines permanently over to the 03 prefix.

All helpline numbers have now moved to 03 lines, but the Revenue has kept many 0845 equivalents to "minimise inconvenience" for users. 

But from December this year, all 0845 lines will close. 

HMRC said that in August, those still using 0845 numbers will hear a message about the imminent change giving the relevant 03 number they will need to use from December.

The Revenue's 0845 phone lines had been criticised by the Public Accounts Committee due to the high cost for the user and long waiting times.

It then began moving to 03 numbers around April last year. 

But the overhaul has upset some AccountingWEB members, who...

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0845 numbers

 

 I lose out when they changeover. At present 0845 numbers are free calls from BT under my contract but 03 numbers will be charged.

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Excellent news

The sooner all "08" numbers disappear the better! As more of us use our mobile phones to make calls, any number that does not fall within our bundled minutes becomes an unnecessary additional cost. For almost all users, when dialling from a mobile, any number that does not start with 01 or 02 or 03 will be expensive.

One of my clients saved herself nearly £200 per month when I pointed out that she was calling from her mobile to her assistant in the office several times per day using their 0845 number, instead of the underlying geographical (020) number.

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@ secretarius

I'm afraid that you are mistaken, Secretarius. All numbers that start with 03 must (under OFCOM rules) be charged in the same way as geographical numbers (01 or 02). This means that a BT contract that bundles free calls to landlines will include all calls to numbers starting "03". 

You are correct that BT also include 0845 and 0870 as part of their 'free call' bundle, so switching to 03 won't save you money when calling from the office, but it certainly won't cost you any more, so you will not lose out. Other people who have a different phone provider will not all receive free calls to 0845, but they cannot be charged more for calls to 03 than for 02 and so they will save money, as will anyone calling from a mobile.

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WEQ4U
You can use the services of WeQ4U, available as an app or by dialing 0333 5432111, and then the HMRC number, If you don't have a smart phone. Press 9* during the hold and weq4u stay in the que for you, reconnecting once an agent answers thus saving you money.

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Will there be more staff?
Currently the high cost of the 0845 numbers may deter some callers. Waiting times are terrible now, what will happen when the calls are cheaper?

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Many Many Years Ago

I contacted our MP (Ahem, cough, -  who later on resigned over being caught red handed in the MP Expense scandals) who provided me with the very few PMQs on the subject.  Needless to say it all came back that the Powers that Be would provide mealy mouthed non answers along the lines that 0845 were wonderful non profit etc lines (although Sky charged me premiums etc.) and that the problem didn't exist.  Oh well it has taken all this time for the farce to continue.  Far too late in my book but most people placidly accepted this rip off so we got what was deserved.

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