LITRG welcomes new tax credits helpline
For several years, LITRG have campaigned for HMRC to adopt a telephone policy that ensures their most vulnerable customers do not bear costs disproportionately. We therefore welcome HMRC’s announcement that the tax credits helpline will change to a 0345 number with immediate effect. We would like to see that policy extended to cover HMRC’s other helplines.
In December 2010, Ofcom published a consultation document about the use of non-geographic numbers (0800, 0845 and the like) which encouraged the use of 0345 numbers over their 0845 counterparts. We welcomed this consultation, and the recommendations set out in it, as a wonderful opportunity for the Government to help their most vulnerable claimants.
In October 2011, David Gauke (Exchequer Secretary) announced that by the end of the year HMRC would introduce a cheaper 0345 number for the tax credits helpline as a replacement for the current costly 0845 number.
HMRC have now confirmed that from 8 December the new number for the main tax credits helpline will be 0345 300 3900. The textphone number has similarly changed to 0345 300 3909.
The old 0845 number will remain in place for approximately 18 months.
The provision of a 0345 number is expected to result in significant cost savings for the majority of callers to the line. Claimants will only pay the same amount as a landline call to a 01 or an 02 number and the price is the same for calls from mobiles. 0345 numbers are generally included in any discount schemes or inclusive call minutes that claimants may already have with landline or mobile phone operators.
We trust that similar announcements will be made with regards to other HMRC helplines such as the child benefit helpline and the PAYE helpline.
Contact: Victoria Todd (please use form at http://www.litrg.org.uk/ContactUs)