HMRC Enquiry Centres to close
HMRC has confirmed that its plan to replace enquiry centres with a mobile one-to-one support in a range of convenient locations, including a person’s own home or business together with government and community buildings is to be rolled out nationwide from May 2014.
This follows the completion of a five month pilot in the North East of England. The new service will also provide expert advisors on the phone, trained to deal with people who need extra support until the issue is resolved.
HMRC has calculated that the demand for enquiry centres has dropped sharply and that the cost of face-to-face appointments at the enquiry centres reached an average of £152 per appointment.
Ruth Owen, HMRC’s Director General for Personal Tax, said:
‘HMRC is dedicated to providing help to customers when they need it. The pilot showed that this is a valuable service for those who cannot get the help they need elsewhere.
Our Enquiry Centres offer a great service to those who can reach them. But they are spread unevenly across the UK, the number of people using them continues to fall, and our research shows that the majority of customers who do use them don’t actually need to. The new service will enable us to tailor help in a way that works better and is more affordable.
Our specialised phone service will help customers whose affairs can be resolved over the telephone, and our face-to-face help will be available to those who need it, visiting them at a place convenient to them.’