HMRC will focus its Self-Assessment helpline on priority queries from 11 December until 31 January

From 11‌‌‌ ‌December 2023, we will be changing the way we support customers and agents through our Self Assessment (SA) helpline and Agent Dedicated Line (ADL), directing those with simple queries to our existing online services, where they can resolve them more quickly and easily without waiting to speak to an adviser. 

The vast majority of SA customers use HMRC’s online services, with more than 97% of customers filing their SA returns online last year, and overall customer satisfaction with these services is at more than 80%. But around two-thirds of calls to the SA helpline can be resolved far quicker through HMRC’s online services.  

Examples of queries that can be resolved much quicker online include, updating personal information, chasing on the progress of a SA registration, ending SA registration, and checking a Unique Taxpayer Reference number (UTR).

Planned changes to the ADL 
Between 11‌‌‌ ‌December 2023 and 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2024, we are also prioritising our available resource on the ADL to support the SA peak.

During this time our ADL advisers will only take calls about SA filing, payments or repayments and will be redirecting agents to use online tools for simple queries wherever possible. This also means that agents with queries on other topics, including PAYE queries will need to use other channels for assistance.

Agents can continue to use the SA digital assistant for all SA queries throughout this period and our webchat advisers will ensure that you receive the right level of support and expertise for your query.

Agents who call the ADL and whose queries are not specifically related to SA filing, payments or repayments, including agents with multiple client queries, will be redirected to alternative channels or asked to call back in February. 

PAYE queries 
During SA peak, ADL will not be dealing with any PAYE-related calls, however we know that many queries can be resolved quickly and easily online. We encourage agents to consider using tools such as the 'Income Record Viewer' or the 'Where’s my reply' tool before contacting us.
During this time:
agents looking for support on tax codes and allowances or those chasing a PAYE repayment should use our digital tools or our digital assistant which can be accessed via GOV‌‌‌.UK. They should use 'Ask HMRC' which will guide them through their query and, where needed, take them to a webchat for further support
for complex PAYE-related queries only, agents can request a call-back from one of our advisers. Agents request this by using the digital assistant on GOV‌‌‌.UK. They should use 'Ask HMRC', which will guide them through their query and take them to a webchat adviser. Agents should make clear it is an agent contact in the webchat and that they are requesting a call-back for a complex PAYE query

We fully expect normal service to resume once the SA deadline has passed. 

Changes to SA repayment notifications 
From today (7‌‌‌ ‌December 2023) we’re changing how we let you and your clients know we’ve issued a SA Bacs electronic repayment. There is no change to the repayment process itself, so customers will still receive any monies owed to them through their bank as normal.

We’ll no longer send a letter informing you or your client of an SA repayment. We often find these letters arrive after the repayment has been made leading to confusion and increased contact from customers.

We are also making improvements to our IT systems in relation to SA repayments, so we are also temporarily pausing digital notifications from 7‌‌‌ ‌December 2023 while we do this. We’ll let you know when these notifications are reinstated.

You and your clients can still see transactions online, either through HMRC online services for agents account, where you can review transactions on your client’s behalf. Or, your clients can access their HMRC online account to review any transactions. They can also sign up to receive digital notifications when the service resumes.  

We’d like to thank agents for your continued co-operation.

Yours faithfully
HM Revenue and Customs