Headlines: August 26th, 1998

The Inland Revenue has announced details of ambitious plans to provide a faster and more efficient service to taxpayers – which will cut down paperwork.

As from October 1st this year people will be able to notify their local tax
office of a range of changes to their tax status over the phone – without
having to confirm anything in writing. The ability to make telephone changes
to tax affairs was made possible by the Finance Act 1998.

The sorts of changes allowed over the phone include amending details such as
changes to address, marital circumstances, or employer.

Customers can also make telephone claims for tax allowances, such as splitting
the married couples allowance, or additional relief for children. They can
also update the tax office about receiving benefits such as company cars or
mobile phones.

It will still be necessary to add any of the information given over the phone,
in any end of year self assessment return.

From December the Inland Revenue is also piloting a call centre in Scotland
dedicated to handling the affairs of up to two million people. The centre will
test the demand for doing business by phone. If it is successful the Inland
Revenue hopes to open call centres across the rest of the UK. A ‘Statement of
Practice’ setting out how business will be done over the phone, including
ensuring security, can be found on the Internet at: www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk.