UK tax authority to close all of its 281 enquiry centres

The UK tax authority is to close all of its 281 enquiry centres which will put 1,300 jobs at risk and remove the face-to-face help that 2.5 million people used for tax queries last year.The enquiry centres will be closed in 2014 and aim to save HMRC £13m a year. A new service will be launched that will focus primarily on giving advice via telephone and home visits. Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the ACCA, is concerned that “very vulnerable” people could be affected by the closures and argued that “One wonders whether this should really happen to a later and longer timetable to take account of the wide ranging changes to the tax and benefits system.”Figures from the tax authority showed that the number of people using the enquiry centres across the UK had halved from five million in 2005-06 to 2.5 million in 2011-12. On average a visit to the enquiry centre cost HMRC £152 and in most cases, queries could have been solved online or on the telephone.A five-month pilot of the new telephone-based service will start in June, in the north-east of England.The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with employment law solicitors in Bath and across the country.