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UK Taxpayers Face Long Waits with HMRC, Reports NAO

UK Taxpayers Face Long Waits with HMRC, Reports NAO

In a critical report, the UK's National Audit Office found that HM Revenue & Customs has failed to meet its customer service goals for several years. The report revealed that in 2022-23, customers collectively spent 798 years on hold, more than double the time in 2019-20. Factors included funding pressures, job cuts, and efforts to reduce costs by encouraging online tax management.
In a critical report, the UK's National Audit Office (NAO) found that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has failed to meet its customer service goals for responding to taxpayer correspondence and phone calls for several years.

The report revealed that in 2022-23, customers collectively spent 798 years on hold waiting to speak with HMRC, more than double the time in 2019-20.

Factors contributing to poor performance included funding pressures, job cuts, and efforts to reduce costs by encouraging online tax management.

The average wait time to speak to an adviser in the 11 months to February 2024 was nearly 23 minutes, compared to five minutes in 2018-19.

During this period, HMRC answered only 67% of calls, falling short of the 85% target.

In March 2024, HMRC announced it would restrict several helplines to manage funding pressures and backlog but reversed this decision a day later.

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO, emphasized the need for HMRC to improve its services and properly assess the impact of digital services before making staffing adjustments.
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