Which? has analysed a sample of 100 calls to HMRC in the run-up to the 31 January year end deadline. The analysis showed that 29% of callers seeking advice received an automated message, ie they were put in a long queue or cut off.
Callers were put on hold for an average of 18 minutes, with the longest recorded delay of 41 minutes.
Which? also found glitches with a voice recognition system designed to direct queries to the right department.
Richard Lloyd, its CEO, is quoted by the BBC:
"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."
An HMRC spokesman, using the "C" word, said it receives more than 40 million calls a year:
"We know that some of our customers can struggle to get through on our helplines at very busy times.The sample cannot be called "representative":
This isn't good enough, and we are working hard to improve the range of services we provide.
This year we are introducing new technology to help us answer more calls quicker at busy times, and we are improving the digital services we offer so that more customers can find all they need online.
There is more to do, and we are committed to improving the service we offer all of our customers at all times."
1 It was a mere 100 calls.
2 It was taken at the busiest time of the year.
However, as loyal readers (staff and non staff) have stated on this site, there are issues wrt calling HMRC call centres throughout the year. It is a situation, as HMRC moves towards ever increasing centralisation, automation and staff cuts that will most likely worsen.
Tax does have to be taxing.
Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations
Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.
Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.
However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.
What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?
Solar Tax Investigation Insurance 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 Solar Tax Investigation Insurance
HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"