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.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Death of The Enquiry Centre


Despite the fact that HMRC's call centres are unloved by both taxpayers and staff alike, those who "run" HMRC are determined to reduce the number of opportunities that taxpayers have for face to face discussions with a member of staff.

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) report that HMRC has cut the opening hours in 58 of its 280 tax enquiry centres, with some now open for just one or two days a week.

They also note that another 117 might suffer cuts as well, as a result of a consultation that is currently underway.

HMRC told AccountingWEB:

"HMRC's customers across the UK are increasingly using our telephone and online services, rather than visiting our face-to-face enquiry centres, which has led to us reviewing the opening hours of those centres with lower footfall.

Face-to-face inquiries have reduced across the UK by 40% since 2006/07. During 2008, we piloted reduced opening in 10 locations with no adverse impact on customers, and in March 2010 we introduced shorter opening hours at 58 centres across the UK.
"

There's the "C" word again!

LITRG contend that the reduced demand is due to the fact that the quality of service offered is "pants" (so to speak), and that the hapless taxpayer is forced to go to the voluntary sector for decent advice.

Are call centres (if you can get through) better than a face to face enquiry centre?

Views and opinions welcome, as always.

BTW, HMRC contend that the staff who work in the enquiry centres facing cuts will be deployed to other duties (eg answering correspondence).

Do the members of staff facing these cuts actually believe that?

Tax does have to be taxing.

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9 comments:

  1. Management, again, are lying. They don't give a stuff about customer service, have muzzled staff with many years service, forcing them to use the moronic CAG instead of giving appropriate tax advice. Redeployed to answering correspondence? Managers are constantly telling us no-one writes to HMRC any more! It's cuts, stupid. And it will get worse. We recently had an urgent e-mail from our head of finance (170 -190k per annum)advising us what austerity measures are being taken...... Kill them all.

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  2. The days when a tax payer could just turn up at a friendly enquiry centre, give their name to a receptionist & wait to be seen by a competent adviser, usually within 10 mins, are long gone.

    Tax payers arriving at an enquiry centre are now vetted by a floor walker, those without an appointment are turned away, some are directed to phone booths to speak to a certain department ie: tax credits.

    Those that already know they need an appointment, have to get through by telephone to a contact centre to make the said appointment.

    They have made it so damned difficult for tax payers to see anyone, they have given up, so yes footfall has gone down.

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  3. "HMRC's customers across the UK are increasingly using our telephone and online services".

    Yes, they are increasingly using the telephone/online services because the EC staff have been gradually cut since 2005 and people have been encouraged to use the telephone lines in the EC's. It's gone the way of the JC+

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  4. Talk of "death of the enquiry centre" is over-dramatic. In all honesty keeping the small enquiry centres open 5 days a week can't be justified. I work in a large enquiry centre which averages 150-200 callers a day during the peak months so clearly there is a need for us to stay open 5 days a week.

    We provide cover to an enquiry centre some miles away who average maybe 20-30 calls a day at peak so in all honesty cannot be justified in opening more than 2-3 days a week at best. The advisers who work there at present are processing interminable worklists during the numerous hours they're not seeing customers so would be better off providing cover at the larger centres on their 2-3 days off.

    The days of "take a ticket and wait your turn" have gone-it can be argued that was a better system in some respects but given the numbers of advisers left in EC's it's not a valid model anymore.

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  5. "HMRC's customers across the UK are increasingly using our telephone and online services".

    The only reason I have had to resort to the telephone was because the online Self Assessment system has a bug and would not let me log back in after I had made an amendment to my return. I guess that is the price you pay for getting your tax return done within weeks of the tax year ending.

    I will be returning to a paper based return next year.

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  6. "I will be returning to a paper based return next year."

    You think you'll be allowed? Lets see...person goes into EC, either gets turned away without an appointment or shoved into a phone booth, calls a contact centre who then can't deal with something (or, more likely the undertrained and under appreciated staff are not aware of how to deal with it) so they put this onto a work item to be referred to a "service office" who take so long to get to it the person has had enough and write's in with a letter of complaint. THEN their query gets dealt with, as a matter of priority. About 4 months down the line, because the complaint letter is held up for about 2 months!!

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  7. 18 June 2010 22:47

    If I cannot send in a paper based return or log into the online system then HMRC gets no return and I pay no taxes. Should be interesting seeing HMRC explain that one as I am sure I am not the only person affected by the online problems.

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  8. If I cannot send in a paper based return or log into the online system then HMRC gets no return and I pay no taxes. Should be interesting seeing HMRC explain that one as I am sure I am not the only person affected by the online problems.

    You cannot use a pen, or a computer? Well you've just shown you can use the latter, if you're not prepared to use the former and get your tax return in early then that's really your problem not that of HMRC. Do you want them to come round and change your nappy for you?

    ReplyDelete
  9. If I cannot send in a paper based return or log into the online system then HMRC gets no return and I pay no taxes. Should be interesting seeing HMRC explain that one as I am sure I am not the only person affected by the online problems.

    You cannot use a pen, or a computer? Well you've just shown you can use the latter, if you're not prepared to use the former and get your tax return in early then that's really your problem not that of HMRC. Do you want them to come round and change your nappy for you?

    ReplyDelete