During the first half of 2015, HMRC’s advisers answered only half of all phone calls, meaning that 12 million people were unable to get through. And, fewer than 40% of calls were answered in less than five minutes – the target is 80%.
Yvonne Jackson, partner at Clayton & Brewill commented:
‘It’s clearly concerning that so many people who are ringing with queries on their tax returns and PAYE slips are unable to speak to anyone at HMRC.
‘The tax system is complicated and, for individuals without an accountant, HMRC needs to be available as the first port of call for help and advice.’
HMRC meanwhile has acknowledged that the department is ‘struggling’ and says they have recruited around 3,000 new staff to help improve customer service.
Despite these new staff, we would strongly recommend that you try not to leave your tax return to the last minute. Call volumes swell dramatically during the last two weeks of January as individuals battle with their self-assessment tax returns.
‘Give yourself as much time as you can to complete your tax return’, advises Catherine Sharp, Head of C&B Comply.
‘That way, you will know as early as possible if you have any queries and you will give yourself more chance of getting through to HMRC for clarification.
‘Alternatively, if dealing with HMRC gives you the shivers, Clayton & Brewill can help you to get your returns filed quickly, efficiently and at a very cost-effective rate – and you won’t need to spend half of the day pressing redial!’
‘C&B Comply is perfect if you have a reasonable handle on your financial affairs but need someone to take care of the tax returns and queries, and to make sure you are not paying too much tax’ explains Catherine (pictured left).
‘You’ll get a single point of contact, all the usual Clayton & Brewill attention to detail and the reassurance that you are complying with all your statutory accounting requirements.’