Getting hold of HMRC whether by post or phone is a bit of a struggle in the Summer of 2023. Another example of the fact that HMRC have for years talked about taxpayers as customers – unfortunately this is just window dressing as they don’t seem to have any idea as to how to deliver a good customer service!
As HMRC have gradually implemented their online systems, so they have gradually made it harder to contact them and get things done …and this is made worse by the fact that their online system isn’t really up to the job either.
At the time of writing (June 2023) HMRC have just announced they are closing their public phone lines for income tax and self-assessment from 12 June to 3 September 2023. HMRC’s phone answering stats are pretty bad at the best of times. Previous statistics have shown that a third of all calls aren’t answered and the average wait time is 30 minutes (my own experience is most calls take over 50 minutes to be answered).
One of the reasons why they are shutting their phone lines is that they are redeploying staff to other areas – in other words HMRC are both under staffed and, like a lot of government departments, appear to be inefficient in the first place.
But that’s OK because you can always write to HMRC – ohh, but hang on! We have a problem there as well. Current HMRC stats is that it takes around 90 days for them to open their post. For the last few years this has gradually worsened from around 40 days to 3 months!
Well, we have one of the most online and digitally savvy tax departments in the world, email them right! Well no! Sorry, but only certain parts of HMRC have access to email.
Web Chat? Sorry that doesn’t exist either! Although you might be interested to know there is an online forum for asking questions. It is a community of users, but HMRC moderators will answer some questions, sometimes!
Hence the title of this article, HMRC seem to be closed until September – and of course when they do re-open the phone lines … well only a proportion of those who have waited to contact them will be able to get through and get their questions answered.
Whilst you might be able to find answers online, If you have a query then our advice is to write to them – but don’t be in a hurry for a reply. Of course, if you have an accountant then they should be able to help answer your query – unless they need to ring HMRC as well!