Tax credits customers can now get help with questions from Alexa

People seeking help with questions about tax credits renewals can now ask Amazon Alexa, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has said.

The new service means they can ask Alexa to "open HMRC" and ask for help and information with a change of circumstances, payment information, or a renewal.

Customers cannot renew their tax credits using Alexa and it is intended as an extra level of support for those with questions, which could save someone having to make an internet search or a phone call to find the answer.

Amazon Echo
The Amazon Echo device (David Parry/PA)

HMRC said no personal information is stored on Alexa. It said the service could help more than three million people renew their tax credits by the deadline of July 31.

Failure to renew before the deadline will mean payments are stopped and people may have to repay the money they have received since April.

HMRC said people can also use the HMRC app on their smartphone to renew their tax credits, check their tax credits payments schedule and find out how much they have earned for the year.

You're not on your own. We've got lots of online tips and support to help you renew your #taxcredits online quickly and easily. Find out more herehttps://t.co/rrQ7Pyzzex#taxcreditspic.twitter.com/7MV1Y9YQ20

-- HM Revenue & Customs (@HMRCgovuk) July 9, 2018

It said more than 65,000 people this year have already used the app to renew their tax credits, compared with 38,411 people in 2017.

Online help and information on renewing tax credits is available on gov.uk and via HMRC's customer service Twitter feed. Help is also available on the tax credits helpline.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC's director general for customer services, said: "As the July 31 deadline for tax credits renewals approaches, customers can feel reassured that they can renew their benefits online or via the HMRC app 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."

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