To encourage better co-operation between HMRC officials, tax professionals and tax charities, a joint working group known as the ‘Clasper Group’ or ‘Clasper Initiative’ was set up in late 2011. This followed a report by the House of Commons Treasury Committee which, among other things, recommended that
‘HMRC work closely with the professional bodies, tax charities and businesses to develop a series of performance indicators that credibly reflect customers' end-to-end experience of dealing with HMRC ...’
One proposal from the first meeting of that group was that HMRC should look at the way in which bereavement cases were handled and design improvements with input from the agent community and tax charities.
LITRG has long taken a keen interest in how bereaved taxpayers are dealt with by HMRC. Along with Tax Help for Older People, we researched and published a report entitled Bereavement and the tax system. Our recommendations in that report included revising and simplifying the form R27, and setting up a working party with representatives from Government and the voluntary sector to consider proposals such as a bereavement helpline.
We therefore welcome the positive steps that have now been taken towards bringing about these first changes, and look forward to working with HMRC on further improving the service offered to bereaved taxpayers.
The bereavement helpline is accessed via the general taxes number 0845 300 0627 (the Textphone number for those with impaired speech or hearing is 0845 302 1408). Callers will be able to select option buttons to speak to a bereavement tax adviser from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
The address for PAYE and SA matters relating to bereavement is:
HM Revenue & Customs, Pay As You Earn & Self Assessment, PO Box 4000, Cardiff, CF14 8HR
The new form R27 and accompanying notes are available on the HMRC website: R27 – Reclaiming tax or paying tax when someone dies. This helpfully provides the details of Tax Help for Older People as an independent contact for bereaved older people on low incomes.
Contemporaneously, HMRC and the tax professional bodies have published a joint statement about progress so far made by the Clasper Group. The joint statement can be found on the website of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) at http://www.tax.org.uk/media_centre/LatestNews-migrated/Joint_AP_update.
Contact: Robin Williamson (please use form at http://www.litrg.org.uk/ContactUs)