New research suggests that when it comes to contacting HMRC, workers are wasting £2.4 billion of productive time a year calling the taxman.
Inefficiency, poor customer services and delays at HMRC are costing the economy more than £200 per person who completes a self-assessment form, the Institute of Customer Service has calculated.
Almost 12 million people are registered for self-assessment and HMRC receives 32 million telephone calls a year. No wonder contacting HMRC is getting more and more difficult and time consuming.
Nearly 750,000 people missed the deadline to file their Self-Assessment tax return, running the risk of a £100 fine.
HMRC said that 10.7 million people filed on time, but that 6.5 per cent of those required to submit a tax return failed to do so by the deadline.
I wonder how many spent all day on the phone contacting HMRC to discuss issues.
The research concluded that the public waste millions of hours trying to resolve customer service problems from their workplace including contacting HMRC for various tax queries. These delays cost employers £28 billion a year in lost productivity. The taxman is the second worst-offender, behind the property industry, where conveyancing problems cost the economy £2.5 billion a year.
HMRC says that since April taxpayers contacting HMRC have had to wait an average of 4 minutes, 35 seconds for a call to be answered, down from more than 12 minutes in 2016. These figures do not count the 4 minutes of automated messages that callers must listen to. The taxman’s own figures show that one in seven callers wait more than 10 minutes, or up to 14 minutes when automated messages are included.
If you have ever tries contacting HMRC, I think these timeframes are a little on the fair side! We have had to wait 30 / 45 minutes or longer in most instances.
The figures are likely to embarrass Philip Hammond. In December the chancellor appeared to suggest that the large number of disabled people on the workforce was suppressing productivity, perhaps without justifiable evidence? However, he failed to mention problems when contacting HMRC!
Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, said; “There will always be times when employees will have to take time out of their working day to deal with personal issues. However, the responsibility lies with UK organisations to ensure that, as much as possible, problems are prevented at source and customer service interactions are right first time – to protect both the productivity of their own staff, and those interacting with them.” She said that with so many people affected, there was a clear need to improve the skills of customer service staff.
HMRC said: “These claims don’t in any way reflect the positive experience most customers have. There are over 40 million people in PAYE alone and there will be times customers may have to wait a little longer than normal but our customer service is getting better.”
Have a look at one of our other blogs Top 10 tips handling HMRC
When contacting HMRC you definitely need to have a coffee ready and be cool, calm and collected. I doubt very much 45 minutes on hold will help that cool reserve stay in place!
There is help out there, let us take away this stress and be the ones contacting HMRC for you.
If you find you need help with HMRC debts, or are finding issues with them in getting in contact / getting debts resolved….We can help.