HMRC to provide “telephone education” to SMEs

HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS will contact new businesses to offer them a “telephone education” to help them understand their tax obligations.

A briefing note said that the telephone education will be both reactive and proactive. The reactive element will be offered as an alternative to face-to-face workshops, while the taxman will also proactively contact businesses “at key stages in their lifecycles”, such as starting up.

A pilot has already been launched, with the taxman contacting new businesses offering to “talk them through the main things they need to know.
The calls will focus on areas such as business taxes, expenses and allowances, being an employer, VAT and record keeping among other things.

HMRC says that this will use its “existing education delivery team” to make the calls. The team will not have access to live records, meaning it will not be able to discuss any issues directly related to the business’s tax obligations.

ICAEW said it was “pleased to note that HMRC has taken care to consider the role of agents”. It added: “HMRC will ask early on in the telephone conversations whether the taxpayer has an agent, and if so, will just provide ‘general messages on record-keeping’ and cover any areas for which the agent is not acting.”

Related reading