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HMRC leaves taxpayers waiting on phone line for 23 minutes just to speak to staff

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Published Time: 15.05.2024 - 05:41:57 Modified Time: 15.05.2024 - 05:41:57

Britons have been left waiting more than 20 minutes before they can speak to a HMRC advisor By Temi Laleye Published 15/05/2024Although the total number of telephone calls to HMRC has reduced, the total amount of time advisers spend on each call has increased 'Not going to happen under Sunak' Nigel Farage responds to calls for him to become Conservative minister Beatles tribute concert at Winchester Cathedral sparks audience walkout over 'wall of noise' Rishi Sunak facing investigation after Lib Dems demand answers over 'clear breach' of rules Harry and Meghan issue statement as their charity receives 'delinquency notice' Fury 'wants Usyk fight called off' as alarm sparked by crutches video Harry 'offered a royal residence' by King after Windsor Castle request rejected Harry ‘pushed into the background’ as Meghan Markle ‘takes over’ Nigeria tour Britons issued France travel warning as petrol and diesel drivers face huge £155 fine DVLA rule could see vehicles removed from roads unless drivers admit to car changes Trending on GB News Prince Harry ‘has a problem’ as Duke tries to ‘hide anxiety’ during Nigeria tour Britons have been left waiting more than 20 minutes before they can speak to an advisor from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)


Britons have been left waiting more than 20 minutes before they can speak to a HMRC advisor

By Temi Laleye

Published: 15/05/2024

Although the total number of telephone calls to HMRC has reduced, the total amount of time advisers spend on each call has increased

'Not going to happen under Sunak' Nigel Farage responds to calls for him to become Conservative minister

Beatles tribute concert at Winchester Cathedral sparks audience walkout over 'wall of noise'

Rishi Sunak facing investigation after Lib Dems demand answers over 'clear breach' of rules

Harry and Meghan issue statement as their charity receives 'delinquency notice'

Fury 'wants Usyk fight called off' as alarm sparked by crutches video

Harry 'offered a royal residence' by King after Windsor Castle request rejected

Harry ‘pushed into the background’ as Meghan Markle ‘takes over’ Nigeria tour

Britons issued France travel warning as petrol and diesel drivers face huge £155 fine

DVLA rule could see vehicles removed from roads unless drivers admit to car changes

Trending on GB News

Prince Harry ‘has a problem’ as Duke tries to ‘hide anxiety’ during Nigeria tour

Britons have been left waiting more than 20 minutes before they can speak to an advisor from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The average phone line wait time hit nearly 23 minutes in the first 11 months of 2023/24, up from five minutes in 2018-19, according to a new National Audit Office (NAO) report on the tax collector’s customer service.


In 2022/23, Britons cumulatively spent 798 years on hold waiting to speak to HMRC, more than double the time spent in 2019/20.

As the call load remains high, HMRC has not been able to go ahead with the staff reductions it had initially planned.

Due to budgetary constraints**, it needed** to cut staff numbers by 14 per cent in 2024-25, despite only achieving a nine per cent reduction between 2019-20 and 2023-24.

However, ahead of the report being publicly released today, HM Treasury yesterday announced £52million of extra funding to bring the department’s performance up to target.



The revenue had hoped their new digital services would reduce certain pressures from their customer service team, however this was not the case.

The quality of service provided by HMRC telephone and correspondence has been far below the levels expected in recent years and has not met annual targets, the report found.

They are not expecting to meet its telephone performance target in 2024/2025 and it is unclear what level of service customers should expect

HMRC’s digital service is intended to encourage customers to check online first when they have a query rather than calling up straight away.

With more people checking online for solutions first, the Revenue are hoping this would cut the costs of servicing telephone calls and correspondence, as well as free up staff to serve people who need extra support.

The department says digital services are better suited for straightforward queries and reporting changes in customers’ circumstances.

However, the NAO said HMRC has not yet done enough to raise awareness of its digital services, increase customers’ confidence in using its online offering or understand how effectively these services meet customers’ needs.

It recommends that HMRC develops more realistic plans for cutting the services it is replacing with digital channels and adopts a more customer-focused approach to encourage the take-up of new services.

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, said: “HMRC’s telephone and correspondence services have been below its target service levels for too long.

“While many of its digital services work well, they have not made enough of a difference to customers, some of whom have been caught in a declining spiral of service pressures and cuts. HMRC has also not achieved planned efficiencies.

“HMRC must allow more time for these services to bed in and understand the difference they make before adjusting staffing levels.”

In March 2024, HMRC announced that it would restrict a number of its helplines, including closing its Self Assessment helpline for six month, however HMRC reversed its decision after backlash from the public.

The department had trialed closing and restricting helplines in 2023, but its evaluation of these changes did not consider stakeholder views or adequately assess the impacts of the changes on customers.

GB News has contacted HMRC asking for comment.

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