The tax office in Watford is set to close after HM Revenue and Customs announced it is axing its enquiry centres as part of a £27 million cost saving programme.

The department said it had seen a sharp drop in demand for the centres in the last decade and that it was launching a new phone system later this year for people with tax queries.

The Government is also set to give cash to voluntary organisations to help with calls.

As a result, the enquiry centre, in Clarendon Road, will close from May this year.

Ruth Owen, HMRC’s Director General for Personal Tax, said: "HMRC is dedicated to providing help to customers when they need it. The pilot showed that this is a valuable service for those who cannot get the help they need elsewhere.

"Our Enquiry Centres offer a great service to those who can reach them. But they are spread unevenly across the UK, the number of people using them continues to fall, and our research shows that the majority of customers who do use them don’t actually need to. The new service will enable us to tailor help in a way that works better and is more affordable.

"Our specialised phone service will help customers whose affairs can be resolved over the telephone, and our face-to-face help will be available to those who need it, visiting them at a place convenient to them."