HMRC helpline for businesses facing uncertainty and difficulties in the face of COVID-19

As a result of the rapidly changing landscape caused by COVID-19, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have announced a helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about paying their tax bill because of Coronavirus.

With VAT payments due on either a quarterly or monthly basis, both individuals and businesses may be concerned about paying their upcoming VAT bill.

This helpline should be able to provide you support and guidance in respect of VAT and other taxes.

How do I access the helpline?

The contact number is 0800 0159 559.

The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm. The helpline will not be available on Bank Holidays.

HMRC have advised that 2,000 experienced call handlers should be available to support businesses and individuals when needed.

What help can HMRC provide?

The options which HMRC have advised will be available for businesses are:

  • Agreeing an instalment arrangement
  • Suspending debt collection proceedings
  • Cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately

What can I expect?

When calling to contact HMRC, it is recommended you have the following details:

  • Your reference number (for example, your Unique Taxpayer Reference or VAT registration number)
  • The amount of tax you are finding it difficult to pay
  • How much you can pay now and how long you expect to may need to pay the rest
  • Your bank account details

HMRC are likely to ask you about your income and expenditure, your assets and what you’re doing to get your tax payments back on track. They will then decide whether time to pay is appropriate.

You will be asked additional in-depth questions if you have been given time to pay before. In more complex cases, HMRC reserve the right to ask for more evidence before they make a decision.

Julian Borley, Director of VAT said “with uncertain times ahead and potential tax liabilities due shortly, if you are concerned about paying your tax liabilities as a result of COVID-19, contact HMRC as soon as you foresee difficulties. This will help ensure that any required arrangements are put in place.”

Posted in Blog, VAT.