Further restrictions on the ADL until 31 January: An update
We outline additional restrictions to HMRC’s service on the Agent Dedicated Line (ADL) from 22 December to 31 January.
Agent Dedicated Line
HMRC had already announced restrictions to the service provided on the ADL between 11 December and 31 January. Only calls about SA filing, payments or repayments, will be dealt with during this period – and agents will be redirected to online tools for simple queries, wherever possible.
Restrictions are also in place on the SA Helpline which is generally only dealing with priority self assessment queries that can’t easily be dealt with online, or where the caller can’t use HMRC’s online services.
The intention is to allow the helplines to focus on the more complex or urgent queries.
Further restrictions on the ADL from 22 December
Due to what HMRC describes as ‘exceptional levels of demand’, from 22 December all ADL progress chasing queries for SA repayments will be redirected to the digital ‘Where’s my reply’ tool; this will give an estimated date for the processing of an SA repayment. Similarly, from 22 December ADL advisers will not take progress chasing calls or webchats for SA repayments and will refer agents to the online tools available.
We understand that in cases where the agent has checked ‘Where’s my reply’ and the repayment is beyond the expected payment date, HMRC will accept a call on webchat or the ADL. However, if the agent has not checked, or is calling before the date provided, it will not be dealt with by either route.
While it may be tempting to contact HMRC through different channels at the same time about the same query (for example, webchat and the ADL), HMRC has asked agents not to do this because it is putting additional pressure on resources.
Services that continue to be available
Agents can continue to use the SA digital assistant for all SA queries; the opening hours for this are 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.
PAYE webchat is available from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday:
- Agents looking for support on tax codes and allowances, or those chasing a PAYE repayment, should use HMRC’s digital tools or the 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 an HMRC adviser, again 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 continue to welcome feedback from members on how the restricted service on the ADL operates in practice. Email email@example.com to let us know whether you experience any difficulties getting urgent SA queries resolved.
Digital options for agents
When HMRC announced earlier changes to the ADL that took effect from 2 October, it said that it was looking at some possible improvements to digital options for agents and increasing the efficiency of the ADL. The imposition of further restrictions on the ADL, during the busiest period of the year, makes digital services for agents even more important.
We want to see HMRC delivering a good service on the ADL, but agents would generally prefer to use online services, rather than waiting on helplines. It is essential that comprehensive digital options are available that allow agents to act effectively for their clients. Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org which digital services you would like to see improved (or put in place) for agents.
Let us know your views
ICAS responds to many tax calls for evidence and consultations, as well as producing tax policy papers and reports. We also regularly attend meetings with HMRC at which service levels, delays and other issues are discussed, and we raise problems being encountered by members. We welcome input from members to inform our work; email email@example.com to share your insights and feedback.