HM Revenue & Customs has revealed that it is planning to close all its 281 tax enquiry centres across the UK next year.
2.5m million people visited the centres in the 2011-12 tax year, seeking face-to-face help with self-assessment forms and tax problems, but that was down from 5 million in previous years.
The plans envisage replacing the service with help over the telephone, offering home visits where necessary, and saving £13m a year.
The planned closures put 1,300 jobs under threat, although HMRC said it would do everything possible to redeploy enquiry staff within the organisation or help them find work elsewhere.
There will be a five-month pilot of the new telephone-based service in the North East of England, starting in June.
13 enquiry centres will be closed as part of the pilot, including Darlington, Durham, Middlesbrough and Newcastle.