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HMRC cuts back on helpline hours

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HM Revenue and Customs (HMC) is to drop its Sunday telephone helpline as from the end of November.

HMRC announced that contact centres will close on Sundays from 29 November.

A spokesman said: “After consulting widely, we have redeployed our Sunday contact centre staff to the busiest periods during the week, driving down waiting times and providing a more effective service when our customers need it most.

“This does not reduce the number of advisers answering calls. We have simply moved staff from quiet periods to busier ones, enabling us to answer an additional 1.7m calls during peak times.”

Saturdays, too, are to see a reduction in times when HMRC helplines will be open, changing from 8am to 8pm to 8am to 4pm.

The usual times of 8am to 8pm will still apply to week days.

HMRC said it would extend opening hours to meet temporary peaks in demand, such as the tax credits renewals date and the deadlines for self-assessment returns.

The spokesman said helpline hours were extended in January 2009 in the run up to the 31 January cut-off point for the filing of self-assessment forms and that a similar policy is likely to be adopted for January 2011, including offering a helpline on Sundays.