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Accountancy Firm Faces Over Three-Year Wait for HMRC Response

Published by Chirag
Published Date: August 30, 2023

An accountancy firm recently encountered a significant delay in receiving a response from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) regarding an issue affecting a client's financial accounts. This incident has drawn attention to notable challenges within HMRC's customer service system.

Delays in Administrative Requests: Accountancy Firm's Experience

The accountancy firm submitted a routine administrative adjustment request for a client's account on January 13, 2020. Surprisingly, HMRC only acknowledged this request on June 20, 2023—more than three years later—citing their inability to fulfil the request.

This occurrence has further fuelled the ongoing discussion about the subpar quality of customer service provided by HMRC. A representative from the firm expressed dissatisfaction, stating that instances of inefficiency, unanswered inquiries, and extended response times for even the simplest queries are all too common when dealing with HMRC.

HMRC response time

The representative criticised the extended three-and-a-half-year response time as entirely unacceptable. The situation was vividly described, emphasising the urgent need for reform within the challenged government department.

Examining HMRC Scrutiny: Recent Incident Amplifies Concerns

This incident follows a prior event in which HMRC faced scrutiny from the Treasury Committee due to the controversial seasonal closure of the individual self-assessment helpline, lasting from June 12 to September 4, 2023. Despite HMRC's assertion that this closure was a cost-effective approach, it led to extended waiting times and multiple callers being disconnected before reaching assistance.

HMRC justified this decision by highlighting the availability of online services and webchat advisers, aiming to reduce phone line wait times. However, statistics indicated that the average wait time for the self-assessment helpline was 28 minutes in December and 27 minutes in January, compared to the previous year's 12 minutes. Although improvements were made, with the average wait time lowered to 21 minutes in May, these figures still underscore the ongoing challenges.

HMRC response time

The representative argued that the existing system is fundamentally flawed and that HMRC is facing significant issues. Comprehensive intervention and a strategic plan from the government's highest echelons are needed to rectify the situation and reinstate efficient and responsive services for both the public and professional entities seeking assistance.

As of now, HMRC has not provided an official comment on the matter.

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