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  • Writer's pictureGreenline Accountants

Average HMRC call wait time exceeds 17 minutes in March 21

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Frustration with trying to get a call answered by HMRC is a well known problem. Indeed in their latest performance figures, HMRC noted that waiting time has worsened with many callers waiting up to 17 minutes to get through to a tax official.

‘This falls short of the high standards we want to deliver, and we’re sorry about the inconvenience this has caused to people at busy times,’ HMRC said in its report.

The report notes that in March 2021, calls were taking an average of 17 minutes 34 seconds to be answered, with 56% of calls having to wait over 10 minutes to get through to someone. By comparison, in March 2020, the average wait time was 6 minutes 39 seconds.

Clearly COVID has had an impact, with 5000 call handlers deployed onto the COVID helplines during the pandemic, handling over 2.5 million calls up to the end of March on issues such as government support schemes and deferred tax. .

HMRC continue to push it's online offering however, and the covid-19 support team handled around half a million webchats and delivered an overall customer satisfaction rating of 95%, while it continues to roll out, digital stamps and virtual assistants capable of handling simple/routine enquiries through automation.

At it's worst at the end of 2020 and January 21, the PAYE and self assessment taxpayers were typically experiencing average call waiting times of 28 minutes, compared to nine minutes in 2019 to 2020.

As the support schemes wind down and HMRC continues to implement better online systems and control, we hope that call wait times start to reduce dramatically.

In the meantime, Michael Spicer pretty much sums up the frustration of waiting on hold with HMRC, as well it's one redeeming quality!

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