Tax office cuts plan

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Plans to cut opening hours at Derry’s tax office have been slammed by SDLP MP Mark Durkan.

The revenue and customs authority (HMRC) is considering slashing opening hours the city’s ‘face-to-face’ Enquiry Centre reducing the amount of time customers can speak to local staff about tax and revenue matters.

Caroline Addison, HMRC Head of Face-to-Face Services has written to Derry City Council asking for its views on the plans which are based on a 40% reduction in the number of customers using enquiry centres.

“Of the remaining customers, 85 per cent are able to resolve their query either by self service, using the internet or by contacting one of our helplines,” she said.

However, Mr Durkan said he was very concerned at the plans.

“It is my sense in Derry from talking to local accountants that the level of contact at Foyle House does not show such a reduction. The priority telephone line service in Foyle House is popular and therefore I have written to HMRC Head of Face to Face Services Caroline Addison requesting that Revenue and Customs indicate if these visitors are included in the ‘face to face’ statistics.”