HMRC decision to reverse helpline hours cut a relief for small firms

Press Releases 20 Mar 2024

Investment in digital and telephone is needed - not a reduction in service - so small firms with tax queries can get speedy answers

Responding to the announcement that HMRC will not, as previously planned, cut its helpline hours for tax queries, Tina McKenzie, Policy Chair, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said:

“Small businesses will definitely be relieved that the drastic reduction in HMRC’s helpline opening hours has been paused. We are very glad that HMRC has listened to the chorus of dismay which greeted its initial announcement.

“While online services are a key part of the communications mix for the tax authority, sometimes there’s just no substitute for a real human on the end of a phone line who can listen, engage, and help untangle issues.

“It’s still also the case that people trying to get through to HMRC by phone face long delays, which is causing dissatisfaction to rise, and shows that the appetite for phone services is still high.

“We want to see HMRC investing in its helplines, to cut waiting times and ensure that small business owners with urgent tax queries can get through with minimal fuss to someone who can help.

“Before phone line cuts are considered, HMRC needs to build capacity in its digital services, as if those are improved – with real people online to offer help instead of chatbots – many small firms like to interact with the tax authority this way, as it can be more flexible and available out of hours.”

Media contact

Jo Tacon

Jo Tacon

Media & Communications Officer

[email protected]
07595 284292

About FSB

As the UK’s largest business support group, FSB is the voice of the UK’s small businesses and the self-employed. Established over 40 years ago to help its members succeed in business, FSB is a non-profit making and non-party political organisation that’s led by its members, for its members. As the UK’s leading business campaigner, FSB is focused on delivering change which supports smaller businesses to grow and succeed.

FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including access to finance, business banking, legal advice and support along with a powerful voice in Government. Each year FSB also runs the UK’s Celebrating Small Business Awards. More information is available at You can follow us on twitter @fsb_policy and on Instagram @fsb_uk.