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HMRC’s Telephone Service Not Meeting Target Levels

Published by Prerana
Posted Date: May 20, 2024 , Modified Date: May 20, 2024

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the third largest government authority in the UK, has not provided satisfactory telephone service for the fifth year in a row. According to the government spending watchdog, the people of the UK spent almost 800 years in total on hold by the country’s tax authority in the last fiscal year. This is almost half of the phone calls going unanswered.

What Is HMRC Telephone Service?

HMRC has a telephone and correspondence service for people having any enquiry about various types of tax payable and returns. There are different toll-free numbers for services, such as Self Assessment, Child Benefit, Income Tax, National Insurance and many more. Additionally, the numbers are different for each of these services and for people outside the UK.

Here is a table with the list of HMRC toll-free numbers for some of the major services.

Services

Inside UK

Outside UK

Self Assessment

0300 200 3310

+44 161 931 9070

Tax Credits

0345 300 3900

+44 2890 538 192

Child Benefit

0300 200 3100

+44 161 210 3086

Income Tax

0300 200 3300

+44 135 535 9022

Tax for Employers (including PAYE)

0300 200 3200

+44 151 268 0558

National Insurance

0300 200 3500

+44 191 203 7010

VAT

0300 200 3700

+44 2920 501 261

Construction Industry Scheme

0300 200 3210

+44 161 930 8706

Furthermore, there are other ways to contact HMRC, including their text service, webchat, appointments, and home visits. For their text service, dial 18001 and the relevant toll-free number. For instance, to use the Income tax text service, dial 18001 0300 200 3300. In addition, the HMRC webchat service can provide guidance only for PAYE and Self Assessment.

Why Is HMRC Failing to Provide This Service?

According to the National Audit Office (NAO), HMRC provided their telephone service to 20.5 million out of 38 million calls in 2022/23. In 2023/24, based on 11 months of data, the projected rate is 16.3 million calls answered out of 36.5 million. The NAO chief explains that even though HMRC’s digital service works well, they have not made enough of a difference to customers.

HMRC telephone number

HMRC cleared only 76% of telephone queries within 15 working days in the first 11 months of 2023/24. Additionally, the average wait time is nearly 23 minutes in comparison to 5 minutes five years earlier.

Amidst HMRC's failure to reach its target, the Treasury announced £51 million of new funding for the tax authority to service its telephone line. Hopefully, with this new funding, HMRC will be able to provide telephone service to all their customers.

Conclusion

HMRC’s telephone service for different areas of the tax department can answer your queries. But the telephone service has seen a decline in the last five years with many unanswered calls and higher waiting times. So, to solve this problem, the treasury has announced funding to be provided for the tax authority’s telephone service. According to the Treasury Minister, everyone will be assured that someone at the end of the phone is ready to speak.

Prerana
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