HMRC has set a new target for answering calls from taxpayers: they aim to answer 80% of calls within 5 minutes.
The target, according to a committee of MPs headed by Margaret Hodge, is “woefully inadequate”, would still see millions waiting much longer, and is way below the industry benchmark of answering 80% of incoming calls within 20 seconds.
A report revealed that the tax authority received 79 million calls during the 2011-12 tax year, with 20 million of these going unanswered.
Enquiry Centres to be Closed
This is a concern not only because the introduction of new benefits will inevitably mean more incoming calls, but also because HMRC is planning severe staff cuts and closing down all 281 enquiry centres.
Taxpayers with queries will only be able to make enquiries via telephone or online. This could then result in a face-to-face consultation, should the issue require it.
But HMRC said that its performance had improved of late, with more than 90% of calls to contact centres being answered and almost 85% of postal queries replied to within 15 working days.
They have also promised a “more flexible and affordable” service and are reportedly investing an extra £34m into the contact centres to bring the performance up to industry standards.
Avoid HMRC Altogether
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