What is HMRC?
HMRC is a UK government organization, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. This non-ministerial department is the authority on taxes, payments, and customs in the United Kingdom. Their administration collects taxes to pay for public services such as the NHS and education. They also issue some state benefits to families or individuals in need of financial support from the government. The aim of HMRC is to maximize revenue for the UK and prevent tax avoidance and evasion. Sometimes it is known as just the Tax Office. Every UK citizen has to deal with HMRC.
What is HMRC Responsible For?
HM Revenue & Customs has many direct responsibilities. Here is a list of the primary taxes, duties, levies, state benefits, and schemes it manages:
- Aggregates Levy
- Air Passenger Duty (for plane operators)
- Alcohol Duties
- Apprenticeship Levy
- Capital Allowances
- Capital Gains Tax
- Charity Money (accounts, taxes, and fundraising)
- Child Benefit
- Climate Change Levy
- CASCs (Community Amateur Sports Clubs)
- CIS (Construction Industry Scheme)
- Corporation Tax
- Council Tax
- Emissions Tax (carbon emissions)
- Foreign Entertainer Tax
- Fuel Duty
- Gambling Duties
- Government Graduate Schemes
- Customs Declarations, Duties, and Tariffs (imports and exports)
- Income Tax
- Inheritance Tax
- Insurance Premium Tax
- International Tax
- Investment Schemes
- Landfill Tax
- Local Government Pension Schemes
- National Insurance
- Non-Resident Landlord Scheme
- Oil and Gas Taxation
- PAYE (Pay As You Earn scheme)
- Self-Assessment (self-employment)
- Soft Drinks Industry Levy
- Stamp Duty Land Tax (and other property taxation)
- Tax Credits
- Tobacco Products Duty
- VAT (Value Added Tax)
HMRC is also responsible for collecting student loan repayments through their wages once they are earning above the relevant income threshold.
What is HMRC Not Responsible For?
Though it may be confusing since HMRC collects taxes, you don’t have to pay Vehicle Excise Duty to HMRC. When you pay your car tax you will deal directly with the DVLA, which is also responsible for driving tests and issuing licences. When it comes to Council Tax, HMRC can help to contact them but you must deal with your local council to discuss your council tax band and payment plan. While you must pay property taxes to HMRC, you need to register ownership with the Land Registry. The Right to Buy Scheme to help people get onto the property ladder is not part of HMRC. Though HMRC handles Child Benefit and Tax Credits, it is not responsible for most other state benefits. The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) handles them in partnership with Jobcentre offices. This includes Housing Benefit, Universal Credit and any unemployment benefits, disability and carer allowances, and the State Pension. If you move to the UK you will need to contact HMRC to apply for a National Insurance number and sort out your taxes. First, though, you will need to deal with UK Visas and Immigration through the Home Office. HMRC is responsible for Child Benefit, but this is not the same thing as Child Support. You must contact Child Maintenance Services for that instead.
When Do I Need to Contact HMRC?
Every child should receive a letter from HMRC a few months before their 16th birthday. This will notify them of their National Insurance number, which they must keep a record of. This is a kind of personal account number which HMRC will use throughout your life to identify you and track your income and taxes. You will need to contact HMRC if you do not receive this or you lose your NI number. An NI number is necessary for legal employment in the UK (including apprenticeships) and applying for student loans for higher education. One of the taxes you have to pay as a UK citizen in employment is National Insurance contributions. These will entitle you to the State Pension if you pay for enough qualifying years. You also need to pay Income Tax on earnings above the Personal Allowance for each tax year. You must begin paying once you are over 16 years old and earning over certain income levels.
Employment Taxes and Childcare Support
If you are working for someone else, your employer will deduct your NI contributions and income tax from your wages for every pay period via the PAYE scheme. You will only need to contact HMRC if you think that you are on the wrong tax code. If it turns out that you paid too much or too little tax, HMRC should contact you by post concerning your tax bill or refund by the October following the end of that tax year. However, if you have any earnings from self-employment, it is your responsibility to report them to HMRC. You must complete a Self Assessment tax return for each tax year by the relevant deadline. HMRC uses this to calculate how much your income tax and National Insurance contributions should be, and then gives you a deadline for paying them. Employers may need to contact HMRC for assistance with PAYE. If you are on a low income, you can contact HMRC to apply for financial support in the form of Tax Credits. You will need to work a certain number of hours and meet the criteria to be eligible for Working Tax Credit. If you’re responsible for a child, you can contact HMRC to claim Child Tax Credit as well as Child Benefit. You need to contact HMRC to register for these following the birth of a child or a child coming to live with you. This also ensures that the child will receive their National Insurance number when they’re 16.
How Do I Contact HMRC?
There are plenty of ways to contact HMRC if you need assistance. They provide a lot of information on the gov.uk website to help people with understanding their responsibilities as a UK taxpayer. However, it can be too much to get through. If you need more direct guidance for your personal situation, you could contact HMRC directly using the helpline phone numbers for the relevant department. You can find such numbers on this website. The phone lines can be extremely busy when it is close to an important tax deadline. Another way to contact them is by live chat, but this depends on the availability of online advisers. You can also send letters, application forms and accompanying documents by post. HMRC has many different postal addresses for their various internal departments. You can search for the specific address you need on the website or ask for it on Twitter or Facebook. These social media pages are for general enquiries only and they can’t access individual accounts.
HMRC Online Services for Tax Management
In recent years, HMRC has utilized technology to make tax management easier for taxpayers. The Government Gateway allows everyone with a National Insurance number and proof of identity to sign up for an online personal tax account. You can then access your own tax records to check information and submit forms online without having to contact HMRC. It is much faster than the post and takes some of the strain off their phone lines. There is even a HMRC app available from the App Store or Google Play Store. Signing in with your Government Gateway ID means that you can conveniently manage your taxes from a mobile phone or other types of smart device. You might still need to contact HMRC in other ways for agent authorization, complaints or appeals, or to report tax fraud scams.