HMRC Update – changes to phone lines and reporting income

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Plus – plastic packaging tax consultation, intelligent text messages, and VAT registration.

Moving ‘at risk’ goods into Northern Ireland – Duty Reimbursement Scheme

If a trader has moved ‘at risk’ goods into Northern Ireland, they may be able to reclaim duty paid.

The Duty Reimbursement Scheme allows traders to reclaim duty that they have paid on ‘at risk’ goods, or they can apply for a remission of import duty that has been deferred.

If they are not resident or established in the UK, they must get an agent or representative established in the UK to submit the claim on their behalf.

Traders can apply to claim a repayment or remission of import duty on ‘at risk’ goods brought into Northern Ireland on GOV.UK. They can make a claim for goods brought into Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021 onwards, and they will need to show that the goods were not sold or used in the EU.

Changes to reporting income from self-employment and partnerships

From 5 April 2024, all sole trader and partnership businesses whose accounting year doesn’t end on or between 31 March to 5 April will need to report their taxable profits to us on a tax yearly basis.

They may need to find out the details of their overlap relief if they don’t already know this figure. This needs to be done ahead of submitting returns for the 2023 to 2024 transitional year.

On 11 September, HMRC launched an online form that allows individuals to get their overlap relief figure on GOV.UK. It has also published guidance about the changes to reporting income from self-employment and partnerships for the new tax year on GOV.UK.

Overlap profits are profits that have been taxed twice. These can arise if a business uses an accounting date that does not align with the end of the tax year. Overlap profits create a corresponding amount of overlap relief, given in certain circumstances such as when a business stops trading.

VAT registration is quicker, easier, and more secure through the VAT Registration Service

From mid-November, customers should apply to register for VAT through HMRC’s online VAT Registration Service. Customers will no longer be able to submit a paper form to register for VAT unless they are exempt. Over 95% of customers already use the VAT Registration Service – it’s the quickest, most secure, and easiest way to register. 

Supporting its customers is a priority for HMRC and online applications for VAT registrations aligns with its ambition to increase the use of digital channels.It will continue to provide a service for customers who are unable to access and use these digital channels. HMRC continues to offer support through non-digital channels such as via telephone, including its needs extra support service. 

Customers can apply by post on a VAT1 form if they are exempt or if it is a specific type of registration. Customers can ask for a VAT1 form by calling the VAT Helpline on 0300 200 3700.  

Find further information about how to register for VAT, how to apply for an exemption from Making Tax Digital and how to register for VAT by post on GOV.UK.

Over one million intelligent text messages sent to help customers resolve tax queries

HMRC’s intelligent text message service has proven to be a useful tool in encouraging the use of our online services, and it’s now a key component of its business-as-usual activity. 

Since its launch on 19 January, over one million text messages have been sent to customers who called from a mobile phone.  

The service is helping customers resolve their queries quickly and easily online, with 38% not going on to speak to an adviser or calling back within seven days.   

The texts are triggered by the call reason, and they deliver links that provide immediate access to relevant online content which customers can use to resolve their query independently and at their own convenience.

HMRC says “We are continuing to learn from, and improve, the service so it meets both our needs and our customers’ needs. We would value your support in encouraging your constituents to use more of our highly rated digital services.”

Guidance changes and changes to services

Certificate of Tax Deposit scheme closes

The Certificate of Tax Deposit (CTD) scheme closes on 23 November 2023 and HMRC is encouraging individuals or their representatives with remaining certificates to contact its CTD enquiries team with instructions for their use.

The scheme previously allowed individuals to deposit money with HMRC and use it later to pay certain tax liabilities.

Customers in ongoing litigation can convert funds equivalent to disputed liabilities, as a payment on account. This protects existing late payment interest cover. Individuals should contact the CTD Team with details of the ongoing litigation. HMRC will also require individuals to provide an instruction for repayment of any remaining funds.

It has published guidance on actions to take, and how to contact the Certificate of Tax Deposit enquires team, available on GOV.UK.

Further guidance for customers paying their tax bill by Certificate of Tax Deposit is available on GOV.UK.

Changes to the probate phone line 

From Monday 2 October, HMRC will no longer offer a dedicated probate phone line. If a customer has a probate query, they should contact HMCTS. If a customer has an inheritance tax query, they should contact HMRC.  

If a customer contacts the wrong phone line, both departments will do their best to help assist with the query. This will prevent customers from making an additional call unless it is absolutely necessary.  

HMRC says simplifying the phone lines will make things easier for customers, which is an HMRC Charter standards available to read on GOV.UK.

Changes to the Agent Dedicated line

From 2 October 2023, agents might wait slightly longer than normal to speak to an adviser on the Agent Dedicated Line (ADL), especially at peak times. However, HMRC remain committed to providing the right level of support for agents.

To meet the challenges HMRC is facing, whilst providing agents with the right level of support, it will be introducing the following changes from 2 October 2023:

  • No longer operate to a 10-minute service level on the ADL. Waiting times may vary depending on how many agents are calling at one time. HMRC says it knows that a high quality of service is important to you and removing the 10-minute call answering target will allow it to focus on improving the quality of service offered.
  • Introducing information on call waiting times, allowing agents to make a decision based on current waiting times on whether they continue with their call, call back another time, or if they can, use a digital option to resolve their query.
  • If agents call the ADL with a PAYE query, they will need to choose the PAYE option and their call may be re-routed.

These changes are being made as part of the commitments set out in the HMRC Charter to support agents and their businesses, recognising the value tax agents bring to the tax administration system.

Register for Self Assessment by 5 October 2023

HMRC is reminding anybody who is new to tax and who needs to complete a tax return for the 2022 to 2023 tax year to register for Self Assessment by 5 October.

You can use its improved online tool to help people check if they need to send a Self Assessment tax return and register on GOV.UK.

HMRC has also published step-by-step instructions on how to register if they’re self-employed or not self-employed on YouTube.

Members can find out more about registering for Self Assessment in HMRC’s recent press release on GOV.UK.

Plastic Packaging Tax – chemical recycling and the adoption of a mass balance approach

On 18 July 2023, the government published a 12-week consultation on allowing a mass balance approach (MBA) for calculating the recycled content in packaging made from chemically recycled plastic waste, for the purposes of the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT).

If introduced, these changes will aim to create the right conditions for further investment in the UK chemical recycling sector.

The consultation also considers the future of the exemption from PPT for the immediate packaging of human medicines if an MBA is permitted, and the treatment of pre-consumer waste as recycled material for the tax.

Share your views about the Plastic Packaging Tax – chemical recycling and adoption of a mass balance approach consultation on GOV.UK by 10 October 2023.

AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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