Skip to main content

Treasury Committee seeks answers from HMRC on helpline outage

9 January 2023

The Treasury Committee today puts a series of questions to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) following recent reports of problems with its telephone helpline.

Last week, news outlets reported that taxpayers calling HMRC’s helpline were kept on hold for hours, before being cut off without speaking to staff. Concerns have been expressed that HMRC’s working from home policy may have led to some of these issues.

In a letter to HMRC’s Chief Executive Jim Harra, the Chair of the Treasury Committee Harriett Baldwin asks whether HMRC recognises these reports, what steps have been taken to prevent them, and whether they are linked to call centre staff working from home.

HMRC confirmed last year that taxpayers experienced issues accessing online systems and phonelines between Thursday 1 and Monday 5 December due to IT changes.

In the latest correspondence, HMRC are asked whether recent reports are connected to these problems, as well as whether early January demand and service levels differed from the average.

Commenting on the correspondence, Harriett Baldwin MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, said:

“These reports are seriously concerning, given that taxpayers are apparently unable to speak to HMRC by telephone as the 31 January online self-assessment deadline approaches. Our Committee also awaits the outcome of HMRC’s review into December’s outages, in which 99,000 taxpayer calls were potentially missed. Lessons need to be learnt from these issues, and HMRC must learn them quickly.”

Further information

Image: PA