HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Hanging On The Telephone - PAC Catch Up

Hanging On The TelephoneWay back in January I noted the following:

"The National Audit Office (NAO) report that up to 44 million calls to HMRC went unanswered in the year 2008-09.

Out of the 103M calls made to HMRC's directorate handling telephone enquiries (an increase of 22% compared to the previous year), 57% (58M) were answered (down from 71% in the previous year).

The National Audit Office stated:

'In terms of handling telephone enquiries, the Department is not currently achieving value for money, as it recognises

The BBC and Public Accounts Committee have finally caught up.

The BBC reports that the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has condemned HMRC's call-handling operation as "poor", and that HMRC needs to be "more ambitious" in improving its service to callers.

HMRC state that, by next year, it aims to answer 90% of calls; despite the fact that the "industry standard" is 95%.

HMRC contact centre staff spend 38% of their time handling calls, compared with an industry benchmark of 60%.

Committee chairman Edward Leigh said:

"If an organisation wants more of its customers to contact it by telephone, then it has got to be good at answering calls.

HMRC unfortunately is not very good at answering calls, its performance remaining well below industry best practice standards.

Staffing levels should be matched more closely to the peaks and troughs of demand and the department must do more to cut the number of calls it regards as unnecessary

Maybe HMRC should revert to face to face contact centres, which worked very well in the past?

That of course would cost money, and would not fit with Brown's "promise" of everyone having a personal web page from which they can interact with all government organisations at the click of a button.

I am certainly looking forward to seeing that work!

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

What is TAXWISE?

TAXWISE is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Taxwise

Tax Investigation for Dummies, by Nick Morgan, provides a good and easy to read guide for anyone caught up in an HMRC tax investigation. A must read for any Self Assessment taxpayer.

Click the link to read about: Tax Investigation for Dummies

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"


  1. I cant tell you that since the tax codes have been released HMRC contact centres are only ansering 26% of calls at the moment.

  2. (above comment typing error) i meant answering

  3. Wait until the Tax Credits renewal period then there will be no-one left to deal with tax enquiries as they will all be dealing with TC calls particularly as Bootle and Livingston CC's were transferred to other parts of the business losing up to 600 advisors.

  4. What happens if you work in a HMRC call centre and you want to take a piss or a have a dump??

  5. What happens if you work in a HMRC call centre and you want to take a piss or a have a dump?

    Crikey, next you will be wanting an hour for lunch!!!!

  6. Bootle have been put back on phones this week after being told a fortnight ago that they weren't a Contact Centre anymore. The staff there musn't know if they're coming or going, and that includes the managers. Typical HMRC - plan badly then move the goalposts when the plan doesn't come off.

  7. A simpler tax system, fewer forms to fill and online systems that weren't complete crap would mean less calls were necessary in the first place. Some hope.

  8. Hmmmm, my stats have never shown I only take calls 38% of the time, last week my stats showed I took calls for 99.2% of the time, the remaining 0.8% was my breaks.......

    And an hour for lunch... I only get 20 mins on my longer days.

  9. The employer sections must account for some it. On the one I work on, for two years they only allowed one line to be open for 150,000 employers & their accountants. There was a lot of complaints when they finally got through, but no we were told to get on with our work & only one of us was allowed to answer calls.

    Now they have closed most of the smaller employers sections & the offices too, in most cases, they have just cut the calls off and there is no where for the employers to call. The advice is to phone the Employers Helpline who cannot in a large amount of cases help the employers at all.

  10. "Maybe HMRC should revert to face to face contact centres, which worked very well in the past?"

    That seems unlikely since they have just announced shorter opening hours in the existing sites - they can't cope because of the cuts to "back office" staff.

    This combined with the additional cuts following the budget announcements and the reduction in staff that will be brought in after the changes to the redundancy package means things can only get better (as Nu Labour would say).

  11. I read the report myself and found it quite humerous. To me it read like a bunch of dusty old MPs getting their jollies by bashing HMRC.
    Why must HMRC CC's be compared to Private Sector CC's? They are totally different, one deals with a large group of people whilst the other deals with the entire country.
    "Mr Apple why are you not orange and pitted like Mr Orange here?"
    "...because I'm an apple and not an orange."
    "Excuses excuses Mr Apple. You must do better"

  12. 27 March 2010 17:21

    The reason they should be compared to call centers in the private sector is because they provide the same service. They may deal with the whole country but they also have a much bigger budget.

  13. They also deal with much more more complex issues than say a bank or a utilities company. They are also served by barely functioning IT systems and a draconian, do only as you are asked and nothing more, stance on call management.