Revealed: the best and worst times to call HMRC
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’