One of the sure fire signs that you have become an adult is that you have spent the best part of your day on hold to one or more various departments within the HMRC. It doesn’t matter whether you are in receipt of benefits, self employed, or living off a pension, at some point, probably more than once, you will find yourself with no choice but to pick up that phone and make the call because you need answers or support.
I have been through this painful process more times than I care to remember, especially in the first few months after having our son as I tried to understand what benefits, if any, we were entitle to and work out who needed to know what information and when. I don’t look back on those calls fondly that’s for sure. In fact I vividly remember getting so frustrated after being on hold for what felt like hours only to be told I had rang the wrong number (they provided me with this number) and to add insult to injury they simply explained they couldn’t transfer my call and instead the line went dead. I would like to say they hung up on me but I’m sure they would argue that they would never do that and it must have been a “technical difficulty” mmmm.
Anyway after figuring out these issues I went a long time without having to make those dreaded calls again, that is until January this year when I went self employed full time. This meant I had to register with them, fill in details online, which required every bit of personal information excluding my dress size, and try and figure out what needed to be done when. At first I tried to use their website which has got better over the years but I still find it hard to understand on occasion and when I admitted defeat and knew I would need to ring up I then had to search for the numbers I needed, which seriously is easier said than done. Eventually I got through and was up and running with the hope I wouldn’t need to contact them ever again.
Later on this year however I was introduced to Talk Tax a website I seriously wish I had discovered earlier and one that can offer help with HMRC. It has a whole host of well written, easy to understand articles about all aspects of HMRC. You can use the search button to find the topic you want such as self assessment or even sugar tax and a whole host of related articles will come up with clear headlines so you can easily access the ones that are relevant to you. In addition to the easy to read articles and guides Talk Tax also supply you with those mythical numbers you need for the HMRC, the ones that get you straight through to the right departments so that you can talk to someone who actually understands what you are asking without being passed from department to department. This website is so accessible and my only complaint is that I have only just discovered it.
I will never again attempt to contact HMRC without first consulting with Talk Tax, either to see if I can find the answers I need or failing that the exact number for the correct department to save myself an awful lot of time and the formation of additional frown lines!
For me it is websites and information like this that should be supplied direct from the company and also shown in schools to educate the next generation on what HMRC do and do not do, what taxes we have in place in the UK and some basic understand of why and how they are relevant to them as well as knowing how to access the correct information in the future.
If you need to access HMRC I highly recommend you visit Talk Tax fist.