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HMRC responds to Treasury Committee on customer service issues

25 January 2023

The Treasury Committee today publishes correspondence from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on this month’s customer phone line issues.

Earlier this month, news outlets reported that taxpayers calling HMRC’s helpline were kept on hold for hours, before being cut off without speaking to staff. The Committee asked whether HMRC recognised these reports, what steps have been taken to prevent such issues, and whether the delays were linked to call centre staff working from home.

In response, HMRC outlines that the average wait time for its Self Assessment helpline in January was 27 minutes, compared with 12 minutes last year. HMRC suggests that if taxpayers were to use online services rather than calling the helpline, waiting times would fall.

The organisation denies that call centre staff working from home has led to a decrease in productivity.

The letter can be read here.

HMRC confirmed last year that taxpayers experienced problems accessing online systems and phonelines in December due to IT issues.

Chair's comment

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

“As the Self Assessment deadline approaches at the end of the month, taxpayers will note the advice about checking HMRC’s website first.  However, it is important that people can reach the taxman if there are unanswered questions and we will continue to seek reassurance that the service can respond to peaks in demand without crashing.”

Further information

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