HMRC phone lines remain open but waits get even longer!

Last month, HMRC announced that its self-assessment phoneline will close between April and September every year following a trial of the move in 2023.

Less than 24 hours later, it performed a remarkable u-turn on the controversial plans.

 

Why did HMRC change its mind?

The head of HMRC told MPs that the ferocity of criticism over its decision to shut helplines with virtually no notice was unexpected and the ‘strategy was being rolled out too fast.’

Reading between the lines, it would appear that in actual fact, Jeremy Hunt intervened to prevent the closure, saying that he felt more needed to be done by HMRC to ensure that all taxpayers’ needs are met.

 

Trying to shift more customers online

HMRC said it recognised it had to do more to get people on board in its bid to shift more customers online but that is had gone too quickly in announcing the sudden closure and the pace of change needs to match the public appetite for managing their tax affairs online.

 

What now?

According to the latest report by the Public Accounts Committee the average wait for a call to HMRC to be answered was 16 minutes and 24 seconds in the year to April 2023, compared with 12 minutes and 22 seconds the previous year.

Sadly, this continues to illustrate a continued decline in the service being provided by HMRC.

Regardless of the latest decision to halt helpline closures, this is clearly a centrepiece of HMRC’s long-term strategy though and if you need our help please get in touch at hello@chw-accounting.co.uk


This article is for general guidance only. It provides an outline, and may not include points which are important to your situation. You should not depend on this blog without taking advice based on the full facts of your case. The information given was correct at the time of publication.

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