Latest HMRC innovation allows smart assistant users to ask for help with tax credits

Taxpayers can now ask their virtual assistant for help with their tax deadlines, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has revealed.

In an announcement this week, the tax office said it has developed a customer-focused service through Amazon Alexa – specifically for those seeking help with their tax credit renewals.

Taxpayers with the smart audio device in their homes will be able to ask Alexa to “open HMRC” and get help and information in the case that there is a change of circumstances, payment information or renewal.

It added that no personal information is stored on Alexa and customers cannot directly renew their tax credits using the device.

In 2017, a poll suggested that nine per cent of UK households owned an Amazon Alexa device, with that number set to soar to 40 per cent in 2018.

Commenting on its latest innovation, HMRC said the service will help more than three million customers renew their tax credits by 31 July.

For those without the smart device, customers can still use HMRC’s app on their smart phone to renew tax credits, check their tax credits payments schedule and find out how much they have earned for the year.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: “We know our customers have hectic lives – full of interruptions and distractions – which is why HMRC’s online services are available at all times of the day and night.

“As the 31 July deadline for tax credits renewals approaches, customers can feel reassured that they can renew their benefits online or via the HMRCApp at a time that suits them. And if they need to access help and support, Alexa can help customers find out about what to do when they receive a renewal pack, how to change their circumstances, or how to find out about payment information.

“We’ve improved our services so customers can renew their tax credits at a time that’s convenient for them.”