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When will HMRC improve telephone response time?

When will HMRC improve telephone response time?

Contractor accountants will probably agree that HMRC should do something to improve the time it takes to answer incoming calls at its contact centres.

The Low Income Tax Reform Group is the latest group to complain that standards have been slipping at the Revenue over the last few years. In 1997, HMRC pledged to answer 91% of all calls within 30 seconds, but lately it has been failing to meet that objective.

The LITRG advises people to keep a note of the time they contacted HMRC if they are unable to get through, and then if they get any comeback because they were unable to comply with Revenue requirements, they should lodge a complaint and ask for compensation.

The chairman of HMRC last year informed the Treasury Sub-Committee that he hopes to see a steady improvement in performance when it comes to answering phone calls within the department.

This is a particularly busy time for Revenue staff. We’ve just had the end of the tax year and employers throughout the UK now have to file their end-of-year payroll reports. As usual, there will be a lot of queries relating to these procedures and HMRC phone lines are likely to be busier than usual. This can prove extremely frustrating, especially for small business owners who have neither the time nor the inclination to spend hours hanging on the end of a telephone line.

We hear that HMRC still needs to reduce its headcount further, but if it can’t manage to answer calls in a timely manner now, how on earth will it manage once more redundancies have been implemented?

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