You are here: Home - Saving-Banking - News -

HMRC ordered to explain long call wait times and outages

0
Written by:
10/01/2023
HMRC has been told to explain the “concerning” call wait times in the run up to the busy tax return deadline as well as the helpline outages reported in December.

Taxpayers contacting HMRC in early January 2023 were reportedly kept on hold for several hours before being cut off without speaking to staff, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Concerns have been expressed that HMRC’s work from home policy may have led to some of these issues.

The influential Treasury Committee said it is “of serious concern that taxpayers are apparently unable to reach HMRC by telephone in the run up to the 31 January online self-assessment deadline”.

And these latest customer service reports follow disruption and outages to some of HMRC’s online services and telephone helplines in early December.

In a letter to Jim Harra, the chief executive of HMRC, Harriet Baldwin, chair of the Treasury Committee ordered that the department explain the issues in more detail.

Baldwin said she would “appreciate responses” to questions posed around whether HMRC recognises the concerns and issues reported; whether demand and service levels in early January were “substantially different” from the average and to what extent the problems relate to staff working from home.

The Committee also wants to find out what steps HMRC took to resolve the reported concerns; whether procedures will be implemented to prevent future issues, and asked whether the December disruption was linked to January’s issues.

‘Lessons need to be learnt’

A statement from Baldwin, read: “These reports are seriously concerning, given that taxpayers are apparently unable to speak to HMRC by telephone as the 31 January online self-assessment deadline approaches.

“Our Committee also awaits the outcome of HMRC’s review into December’s outages, in which 99,000 taxpayer calls were potentially missed. Lessons need to be learnt from these issues, and HMRC must learn them quickly.”

‘Busiest time of year’

HMRC said the first week of January is normally a busy week with extra calls following the Christmas break, an extra bank holiday in Scotland, and more staff on annual leave so call wait times will be “longer than usual”.

It will respond to the Committee’s letter in due course and an HMRC spokesperson added: “This is our busiest time of the year and we apologise to those waiting to speak to us.

“We strongly encourage customers to check online before calling. Many queries can be dealt with much more quickly through your Personal Tax Account or the HMRC app.”

Related: 10 tips to help you meet the 31 January tax return deadline

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Your right to a refund if travel is affected by train strikes

There have been a wave of train strikes in the past six months, and for anyone travelling today Friday 3 Febru...

Could you save money with a social broadband tariff?

Two-thirds of low-income households are unaware they could be saving on broadband, according to Uswitch.

How to help others and donate to food banks this winter

This winter is expected to be the most challenging yet for the food bank network as soaring costs push more pe...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Five tips for surviving a bear market mauling

The S&P 500 has slipped into bear market territory and for UK investors, the FTSE 250 is also on the edge. Her...

Money Tips of the Week