HMRC wait times for calls double in past two years as customer service crisis at authority worsens

Neela's comments are featured in MoneyWeek and Your Money

HMRC’s average speed of answer to customer calls hit 25 minutes (25:02) in January 2024, up from 20 minutes (20:21) in January 2023 and 12.5 minutes (12:39) in January 2022*. 

The percentage of customers waiting more than 10 minutes for a response hit 71% in January 2024, up from 68.1% in January 2023 and 47.8% in January 2022. 

In their February 2024 report on HMRC performance in 2022/23, the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts expressed their disappointment at the level of customer services provided by HMRC**.

Neela Chauhan, tax partner in our London office, comments:

“HMRC’s customer service crisis threatens to hit a new low. HMRC is severely under-resourced and this is having a detrimental knock-on effect on all of its customers. The trend over the past few years is one of waiting longer and longer. Dealing with HMRC has become immensely frustrating. Unless this can be fixed, it's going to make it harder for small businesses to operate in the UK and it's going to lead to more individuals paying the wrong amount of tax.”

“Individuals and businesses need to resolve issues like tax returns quickly. Delays like the ones we’re seeing now increase the risk of penalties for customers. Delays in processing customer queries also hinders HMRC’s ability to resolve tax issues. This is in turn reduces the amount of tax HMRC collects – it is in their interest to fix this crisis promptly.”

*Source: HMRC.
**Source: House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts report ‘HMRC performance in 2022/23.

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