Following a successful pilot, HMRC and Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) have signed an agreement to continue working together for the next three years, in an initiative aimed at making HMRC’s services more accessible to Deaf people.
Current services will continue, including the website www.royaldeaftax.org.uk where Deaf people can find information on tax and tax credits in British Sign Language (BSL).
RAD will continue to provide advice in BSL via webcam to clients throughout England and Wales. The project also includes a Video Interpreting service, enabling Deaf customers to contact HMRC using a BSL interpreter, again via webcam.
Topics include: Working tax credits, Child tax credits, PAYE and Self-Assessment. RAD will also work with HMRC to promote important tax information to the Deaf community, such as Marriage Allowance.
Plans are under way to develop the service to give Deaf customers even more control. A new website and a user-friendly “choose and book” app for advice and interpreting appointments, is scheduled to be ready in the new year.
Jan Sheldon, RAD’s Chief Executive, said “We are delighted that HMRC will continue to work with us to make their service accessible to Deaf customers. The pilot project won accolades and we see this as an example of how government departments can be proactive in providing equality of access to Deaf people.”