Update on CT and VAT from HNM

Dear customer,

What is happening?

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

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

Why have you done this? 

As you know, over the course of the pandemic, we made choices about the work we prioritised in order to protect our essential services and the livelihoods of our customer groups who need it the most. We 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.  

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

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

We are now working through the stocks of post that built up over the past year. We are doing this while keeping our helpline service levels and processing stable, and making sure we 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, we expect to be delivering normal (pre-pandemic) performance on our core service lines – in terms of the work we have on hand, our turnaround times and the running of our real-time channels. 

What happens next? 

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

Yours faithfully

HMRC

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