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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Premium telephone charge for pensioners facing tax demands

This story - Pensioners given days to meet shock tax demands - advises that pensioners should call HMRC on 0845 3000 627 "to discuss payment options".

They pay a premium to HMRC even to call this number.

HMRC benefits from a subsidy on its phone bill from calls to this number, at the expense of callers, depending on their telephone service provider.

Whilst unique regulation on BT denies it the chance to make any money on 0845 calls (it makes its profits elsewhere) most providers add their own "Access Charge" to the HMRC "Service Charge" - see this table of call costs to various type of number.

Pensioners at home all day with cable TV and therefore using a Virgin Media landline would pay nothing to call a Geographic Rate (1/02/03) number, but pay a connection charge of 12.24p plus 10.22p per minute to speak to HMRC on its 0845 numbers.
Those who cannot afford a landline and may have to use a mobile phone could be paying up to 41p per minute to speak to HMRC.

HMRC (along with the DWP, NHS Direct and other public service providers) must immediately adopt 03 numbers.

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