HMRC VAT registration helpline closes on 22 May 2023
The Revenue recently announced on 17th May 2023, the closure of its VAT registration helpline number that will effectively take place on Monday 22 May 2023. This has of course given customers such as agents and taxpayers very little warning of their decision.
Agents such as Perrys were initially informed by HMRC that the VAT registration service would close on 22 May 2024 only to subsequently be told of the error and the revised imminent date.
The helpline had been originally setup to deal specifically with customers who had queries or concerns with regards to the status or updates on HMRC VAT registration applications.
Why is this happening?
HMRC have decided on this action further to trials to reduce the service to four days a week last year to assist with focussing on efforts to clear the back log of applications. They have a 40 working day turnaround for applications and it was felt that in order to better improve this level of service, applications could be processed far more quickly by focussing their team members away from the phones and dealing directly with the applications at hand. The service level had frequently not be adhered to and HMRC have only recently been able to achieve this as a result of these measures. It does of course not guarantee that all cases will been dealt within 40 days with some applications taking longer than others.
What happens if my application still takes longer than 40 working days?
Customers unfortunately will not be able to contact HMRC on the previously dedicated VAT helpline as mentioned. Instead, customers can still make contact by phone to the general VAT helpline on 0300 200 3700 however this should only be used in respect of queries on the VAT application and cannot be used for updates on likely turnaround times.
The Revenue are promoting a more digital approach to all taxes and VAT is no exception. Should you wish to have an update on the progress of an application or find that your application exceeds the 40 working day service level, customers will be able to contact the Revenue by one of the following methods:
VAT registrations email: email@example.com
HMRC’s Where’s my reply tool: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-when-you-can-expect-a-reply-from-hmrc
Potential delays in responses
HMRC have stated that customers should now expect a response within 40 working days. From their research they had found that 85% of current calls to the VAT helpline were from customers who were calling for an update on the application process.
HMRC’s opinion is that their time will be better utilised in using their available resources to process applications rather than talk about the applications. The recent decision though to close the VAT helpline has left many professionals sceptical with some believing that the decision could actually increase processing times.
Should you require any assistance with the application of VAT for your business, Perrys can of course assist and oversee this process for you, acting as your agent and liaising with the Revenue on your behalf.
Should your require any help or further information, please do not hesitate to contact your local Perrys branch.