David Jetuah, Accountancy Age, Tuesday 6 July 2010 at 09:02:00

Low Incomes Tax Reform Group concerned about plans to reduce the number ofhours helpines operate


A pressure groups campaigning on behalf of low income families havecriticised plans to cut the operational hours of tax helplines.

The move will disadvantage poorer families, the Low Incomes Tax Reform Groupsaid.

If HM Revenue and Customs plans are pushed through, contact centres whichfield tax support calls on Sundays will be closed. The proposals also includereducing the number of hours lines operate on Saturdays, bank holidays andduring the week for some services.

LITRG said taxpayers on low incomes who cannot afford to pay for professionaltax help needed to be able to contact the taxman directly because they workedlong hours during the week. The weekend could be the only opportunity they hadto address financial matters.

LITRG chairman John Andrews said:"Taking away access to HMRC helplines atthese times will make the task considerably harder.

"This is a backward step for an organisation that is supposed to be customerfocused.

?We all understand that there is pressure across government to reduce costs.But HMRC have failed to fully assess the impact of these changes."