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  • Writer's pictureSara White

Four in 10 callers to HMRC cannot get through

Updated: Mar 21

HMRC service levels continue to decline as only 61% of callers managed to get through to an adviser by phone in the latest performance report

Sara White, Editor, Accountancy Daily

This marked a 10% decline in successful call connections from an average of 71% over the period April 2022 to March 2023. In the month HMRC received nearly four million calls with 2.9m wanting to speak to an adviser. The previous month HMRC said it had only received 3.23m calls.

On average it took nearly 21 minutes (20:59) to answer calls, while more than two thirds (69%) of callers waited more than 10 minutes to get through to an HMRC adviser.

In March 2023, the 61.3% of positive call connections marked a significant decline from 66.1% a year ago. In November last year, HMRC managed to answer 78.4% of calls, illustrating a worrying drop in service levels over the five month period.

Despite HMRC’s attempts to direct people to web services and webchat to answer queries, there is still very high demand for advice from HMRC staff.

There was also a fall in caller satisfaction with HMRC phone service declining by less than 4% to 75.7% although this figure includes all interaction with phone, webchat and digital services. However, this was the lowest score recorded in the last 12 months.

Recently HMRC said it was transferring call centre staff to handle the huge backlog of post as the performance report showed that 10% of post took more than 40 days to deal with.

ICAS chief executive Bruce Cartwright said: ‘Our members are increasingly telling us that they face severe delays and frustration when dealing with HMRC. Poor HMRC service levels are having a significant impact on taxpayers and businesses.

‘We and other professional bodies, continue to urge the government to invest more in HMRC to make sure they have enough resources to deliver at least an adequate service. Right now, this just isn’t the case.

‘Without an increase in funding and resources, HMRC seems unable to improve their service and support to taxpayers to acceptable levels.’

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