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HMRC criticised for helpline delays

Tax helplines run by HMRC have come under fire for being too random, with close to one-third of all callers being cut off prior to even reaching an advisor, a new study has found.

As the 31st January deadline looms, consumer firm Which? called HMRC’s general enquiries and self-assessment helplines 100 times in a bid to find how easy (or difficult) it is to speak to one of the advisors. Testers found that the automated telephone system cut off 29 per cent of all calls before they were able to talk to HMRC, due to how many people were being dealt with.

Of the calls where researchers reached the stage after HMRC’s automated system (71), it took 18 minutes on average before they were able to talk to a live person. In one instance, a caller experienced a 41-minute wait.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, commented:

“We’ve found people could face lengthy waits or even be cut off when trying to get assistance from HMRC’s helplines. With large numbers of people soon to be seeking help with their self-assessment tax return, we want to see HMRC doing more to monitor and improve their call waiting times.”

Businesses would be helping themselves by being fully aware of tax rules, as well as any changes being implemented by HMRC. Certainly, hiring a knowledgeable accountant in the Wirral would help, alleviating the need to make a call to HMRC and be left on hold for 41 minutes.

Posted by Mark
January 7, 2015
HMRC

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