You’re still facing long waiting times and having your call cut off when phoning Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs – that’s clear from the stories you’ve told us. So we’re starting a poll to find out how long you’ve waited.
We highlighted the problem with HMRC’s self assessment helplines five months ago and since then thousands of you have read the investigation and we’ve had nearly 200 comments telling us what happened to you.
And sadly there is no sign that the problem is getting any better as the complaints are continuing to come in.
Your problems with HMRC
Here are just a few of your stories. Kate tried for more than a month to let HMRC know about her change of circumstances.
‘I’ve been on every day for 40 minutes plus every time. Getting nowhere and absolutely dreading my phone bill.’
Joseph needed to know why his tax code was changed.
‘I’ve been taxed an extra £200 last month when I’m already on a low wage working in London – leaving me well short of what I need to live on.’
He called multiple times after work and during lunch breaks but whatever ‘option’ he tried, was always told ‘we’re very busy right now and all our agents are on other calls’.
Gemma suggested trying the adviser helpline number (01355 359022) to get through faster. It’s worth trying, but you may still face a frustrating wait once your call is forwarded.
How HMRC plans to tackle the problem
We met with HMRC shortly after publishing our investigation and it admitted there was a problem. It hired extra staff for the January ‘tax season’ and trained more people to take calls.
It plans to develop a ‘digital account’ that lets you communicate securely online. The idea is to relieve pressure on call centres by making it easier to update details and find basic information, but plans haven’t been finalised.
It’s worrying that getting through by phone is still a problem, long after the tax return deadline has passed. Waiting times of more than 20 minutes now, doesn’t bode well for later in the year.
Call HMRC early
For the general enquiries number (0300 200 3300) and self-assessment (0300 200 3310), the best advice still seems to be ‘call early’. HMRC opens at 8am, so putting in a call before breakfast is recommended.
Calling later increases your risk of being cut off. Don’t forget lines close at 4pm on Saturday (and aren’t open at all on Sunday and bank holidays), so try weekday mornings – let us know how you get on!
What is your experience of dealing with HMRC – is it worse than other organisations you need to contact? And what about the voice-recognition system?
How long has HMRC kept you hanging on the line?
31-45 minutes (26%, 2,269 Votes)
46-60 minutes (26%, 2,242 Votes)
More than 60 minutes (24%, 2,030 Votes)
21-30 minutes (15%, 1,302 Votes)
11-20 minutes (6%, 475 Votes)
6-10 minutes (2%, 178 Votes)
Up to 5 minutes (2%, 133 Votes)
Total Voters: 8,629