Posted on 25 October 2016
Taxpayers looking to avoid long delays when calling HMRC about their tax affairs may have to call on their way to work, shows new figures.
It’s been revealed that the best times to call the Revenue are between 8.30am and 9.30am or 12pm and 12.30pm, when call waiting times are an average of just 4 ½ minutes.
The worst time to call HMRC, meanwhile, is between 4.30pm and 5pm, towards the end of the working day. Taxpayers calling at this time were put on hold for an average of 12 minutes before speaking to an advisor. The longest delays recorded at this time were close to 25 minutes.
HMRC recently vowed to shorten call waiting times and improve Customer Service, after it was revealed that the average call waiting time for one week in October reached close to 35 minutes, as the deadline for the paper submissions of self-assessment tax returns approached.
Despite making some improvements, there are still concerns that due to staff cuts, HMRC are often too understaffed to cope with the volume of calls they receive at peak times or as tax deadlines approach.
Long call waiting times can be concerning, especially if they cause taxpayers to hang up before getting the advice they need, which could lead to mistakes being made on tax returns and other more serious consequences.
Tax returns can be complex so it’s important those completing them have access to advice and guidance from a professional.
Delays or disruptions when communicating with the Revenue heightens the risk of people missing critical deadlines, or paying the wrong amount of tax, consequently sparking investigations by HMRC. Clearly, it can be become a much bigger problem than having to be stuck on the phone for a long period.
For those taxpayers already in disputes with HMRC, difficulties contacting the Revenue will be an additional worry, on top of an already costly and disruptive investigations.
Taking out insurance against the threat of tax investigation and seeking professional advice can give taxpayers peace of mind, and help them to deal with any issues they have contacting the Revenue. This will ensure they receive reliable guidance throughout the progress. Many professionals will also have their own contacts within the Revenue, allowing the taxpayer to avoid long call waiting times, and remain up to date.
This would allow taxpayers to protect themselves against the costs of an investigation and minimise the disruption involved in liaising with HMRC.
You can protect yourself against the cost of most tax investigations by subscribing to our Tax investigation service. To find out more contact Smith Cooper today!