HMRC enquiry closures consultation ends 24 May

A public consultation on controversial HMRC plans to shut its nationwide network of enquiry offices - overturning a previous ministerial commitment to keep them open - ends on May 24.

HMRC is set to run a five-month pilot to test the new service in the north east of England, from 3 June 2013 to 31 October 2013.

It means enquiry centres in Alnwick, Bishop Auckland, Bridlington, Hexham, Darlington, Durham, Middlesbrough, Morpeth, Newcastle, Scarborough, Stockton, Sunderland, York will all close from 3 June.

The trial could lead to the closure of all 281 UK offices.

When news of the closures was first announced in March, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union voiced their disapproval, saying that around 1,300 jobs were at risk.

However, HMRC has described the move as 'a new, flexible support service for 1.5m customers who need extra help with their tax affairs'.

It added: 'Recent research shows that our enquiry centre network does not meet the needs of the people it was designed to serve. We plan to introduce a new service of specialist help over the phone for those who need it, supported by a mobile team of face-to-face advisers. This new service will be accessed through our normal phone lines.

A final decision on the operation of the new service will be made in January 2014, when the results of the pilot and the consultation have been fully assessed.

The consultation can be accessed on the government website.

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