HMRC trials British Sign Language for deaf taxpayers

A TRIAL of the use of British Sign Language has been launched by HM Revenue & Customs as it seeks to improve its service for deaf taxpayers.

Deaf customers, who are able to handle their own affairs but cannot speak to HMRC directly, can now use video relay with a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter via a webcam, and the interpreter will be able to talk directly to an HMRC adviser on the phone to create a three way ‘real-time’ conversation.

British Sign Language taxpayers with more complex HMRC issues can use the new advocacy and advice service provided by the Royal Association for Deaf People (RAD). If the RAD adviser needs guidance from HMRC to support the deaf customer, they will contact a HMRC adviser.

Last week, it was announced HMRC would be allocating £45m towards bolstering its call centre services with 3,000 new hires and an additional 2,000 from other areas of the department.

Taxpayers who wish to use either the video relay or advocacy and advice services can find out more and book an appointment through the joint HMRC/RAD Tax Help Centre.

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