More than 400,000 tax returns filed despite strike

MORE THAN 400,000 people filed their self-assessment tax returns online yesterday, despite a strike by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) call centre workers.

Some 443,543 returns were filed online on 31 January, compared to about 600,000 on the same day a year earlier, a spokesman for HMRC said.

By midnight last night, 7,446,291 online tax returns had been submitted, up nearly 8% from the previous year.

The normal deadline for submitting tax returns is 31 January, but the taxman has said it will not fine anyone submitting tax returns on 1 or 2 February because of industrial action on deadline day.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which has around 60,000 members in HMRC, said more than 14,500 of its 20,000 members in HMRC enquiry offices and call centres went on strike yesterday.

The strike is in protest over the appointment of private-sector companies to run call-handling trials in two call-centres.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said in a statement: “The strong support for the strike shows our members do not want their jobs and the essential services they provide undermined by privatisation.”

HMRC denied it is privatising existing call centre jobs. It has said the call-centre trial is about “considering options to improve services to the public”.


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