- Do not dismiss HMRC as a source of help for taxpayers.
- The needs enhanced support service can help with many areas of personal tax and tax credits.
- In 2016-17 the service received more than 100,000 calls.
- Tax Help for Older People and TaxAid can also assist.
Just as you are recovering from the self-assessment deadline, a friend calls to say their brother is having trouble with his tax affairs and asks whether you could take a look.
This is not uncommon – most of us are approached at some point in our careers to help a vulnerable friend or relative. Or perhaps a client who has a tax problem outside your immediate area of authorisation cannot afford to pay you to extend your services?
Assisting in such circumstances is often straightforward – we may need only to provide reassurance that all is well or point the person in the right direction for the information. But what if this person needs continuing one-to-one help or the matter is more complicated than you can deal with, bearing in mind your responsibility to provide a professional service?
Do not overlook HMRC – even when the problem is tax debt. Our instinct may be to ‘protect’ people from the Revenue, but it is worth calling its helplines which are staffed by advisers focused on customer service. Its ‘once and done’ approach enables more issues to be resolved sensibly and in one go, although there will always ...