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Waiting times on HMRC helplines spiral out of control

17 May 2024
Issue: 4937 / Categories: News

Taxpayers cumulatively spent 798 years on hold waiting to speak to HMRC in 2022-23 – more than double the time spent waiting in 2019-20 according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report on the tax collector’s customer service.

The report notes that HMRC’s strategy is to encourage taxpayers to turn to its digital services first so that queries can be resolved quickly and easily online but finds the extent to which digital will reduce demand for telephone and correspondence services is not clear.

The move to digital service has not eased pressure on traditional services as much as HMRC expected. Advisers are taking more time on average to answer calls and handle fewer calls than in 2019-20. This means HMRC’s workload has reduced more slowly than reductions in call volumes.

The NAO recommends that HMRC develops more realistic plans for cutting the services...

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