Difficulty in getting through to HMRC – Self Assessment or PAYE

HMRC have an appalling record of telephone service. In the tax year 2010/11 48 people out of 100 could not get through to them when they tried!. Callers can face a wait of over 30 mins which on 0845 telephone numbers will not be cheap. Some people have dispensed with landlines and just have mobiles. This makes it very expensive for them to get through to HMRC.

HMRC’s record in 2011/12 improved so that only 26 people out of 100 failed to get through. However in any other business even this would be totally unacceptable.

HMRC need to realise that if the tax system is not seen as fair and people cannot contact them to sort out problems, HMRC will lose the cooperation of the taxpaying public and encourage an increase in the black economy with people receiving their earnings in cash with no tax deductions.

After several years of a very poor record, HMRC are at last trying to make real improvements in their telephone service and have engaged 1000 additional staff. However, tax is complicated and it is unclear what depth of knowledge the new recruits will be given and how much they will be able to sort caller problems out themselves. Merely promising to email a colleague does not deal with the issue especially if the caller hears northing for several weeks.

Some 20 million people have tax deducted under PAYE. If too much tax is being taken from salary or pensions and it takes a month or so to get HMRC to deal with problems, people may have received too little salary/pension for perhaps 2 months and the extra tax taken mean they have insufficient money to pay all their bills.

Everyone should be able to contact HMRC easily and resolve problems quickly or the public will lose confidence in the tax system with potentially serious consequences for the economy.

If you are having trouble dealing with HMRC over the telephone, we recommend you visit your local tax office and make an appointment to discuss your tax affairs. You may be able to ring to make an appointment but there may be difficulty getting through!

If you are getting nowhere with HMRC, accountants will be able to help. Always get a quote so you have an idea of what it is likely to cost you.

Tax Office opening times in the Warwickshire area are as follows –

Leamington Tax Office – Tues & Thurs 10.00am – 4.00pm
Address –
2 Brandon Parade
Leamington Spa
CV32 4JE
(corner with Willes Rd)
Listed tel no 0844 474 0101

Coventry Tax Office – Mon – Frid 8.30am – 5.00pm
Address –
Sherbourne House , 1 Manor House Drive
West Midlands
Listed tel no 0844 474 0101

The general local telephone number for HMRC enquiries is 0845 3000627 and the general tel no 0845 900044.
You will need your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) and/or National Insurance no, when you call.

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