Some calls to HMRC will be answered with a text message to save time while waiting on the phone lines.

Some people who call HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on a mobile phone with a routine question have the question answered via text message instead of waiting to speak to someone.

The new service, which will be trialled from Thursday, will direct routine hotline calls to online services where specific questions can be resolved quickly and easily.

The texts will be triggered automatically based on the reasons customers are calling and will contain direct links to relevant online information.

During January, HMRC expects approximately 170,000 calls from customers with queries that can be answered quickly online, such as password resets.

HMRC believes this move will help free up its counselors to deal with people with more complex queries and offer callers a routine question with better service.

The hearing comes as the self-assessment deadline approaches.

More than 12 million taxpayers are expected to file by 31 January 2023 for the 2021/22 tax year.

Routine calls to be answered with a text as part of the trial will include:

– Individuals who found the unique taxpayer reference (UTR) number;

– registering with HMRC online services;

– Lost or forgotten online service passwords or user IDs.

In some cases, people are given the option to be redirected or stay on the phone when they need help filing a self-assessment tax return, including inquiries about whether they need to register for a self-assessment or whether they still need to file a tax. claims for returns, lost national insurance (NI) numbers, and income and employment history.

Richard West, director of personal tax operations at HMRC, said: “Redirecting such inquiries to online services will help customers find the answer faster.

“It also means that clients get the appropriate support they need during the current self-assessment summit, whose questions cannot be easily answered online and need help from a counsellor.

“We continue to transform our digital services, increasing their ability to respond quickly to our self-serving customers’ questions, saving time on the phone lines or waiting for information to arrive in the mail.

“Our customers who cannot use digital services will be able to receive support as normal. This is provided through our extra support team for those who have difficulties using our phone service and other services.”

The trial will continue until the end of this financial year.

HMRC has previously faced criticism for its service levels and compliance activities.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recently found a “tearful” £42 billion of unpaid money in unpaid tax.

HMRC has previously said it adds people to its compliance teams and takes a supportive approach to taxpayers who owe it, balancing it by recovering debt from those who can afford it.

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