Re­vealed: the best and worst times to call HMRC

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - YOUR MONEY -

Re­search has re­vealed the best and worst times of day to call HMRC, writes Olivia Rudgard. The tax­man has come un­der fire for long wait­ing times on its helplines, with thou­sands of callers wait­ing al­most an hour to get through. Huge num­bers of callers sim­ply aban­don their at­tempt to con­tact HMRC.

A re­port found last month that on av­er­age tax­pay­ers were still wait­ing for 35 min­utes, prompt­ing the Govern­ment to pledge to im­prove wait­ing times.

Sep­a­rate re­search this week from PfP, an in­surance firm, found that the best time to call was early in the morn­ing be­tween 8.30am and 9.30am or at lunchtime be­tween noon and 12.30pm.

At these times tax­pay­ers waited an av­er­age of four and a half min­utes to be put through to an as­sis­tant.

The worst time was be­tween 4.30pm and 5pm, when the av­er­age caller waited 12 min­utes be­fore speak­ing to the tax of­fice.

Ex­perts are con­cerned that tax­pay­ers who have doubts about the amount they owe could end up pay­ing too much or too lit­tle – lead­ing to even longer wait­ing times as re­turns are chal­lenged and dis­puted.

The tax­man also uses recorded mes­sages to turn away callers at peak times or di­rect them on­line.

HMRC said it had im­proved re­sponse times since the re­search was car­ried out and cur­rently an­swered calls in an av­er­age of five min­utes.

HMRC: re­sponse times ‘have im­proved’

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