IPSE expresses concern over HMRC waiting times


IPSE has responded to today’s report from the Commons Public Accounts Committee stating that HMRC average phone waiting times are actually significantly longer than the tax authority had previously published.

The revelation came after the Committee said that HMRC’s claim that it had cut waiting times from 12 minutes in 2016 to four minutes last year was incorrect. The Committee said the figure failed to take into account the amount of time callers spent listening to automated announcements before entering the queue, and that the actual time would therefore be significantly longer.

Simon McVicker, IPSE’s Director of Policy, commented: “Tax administration is already a major burden on the self-employed, both because they have to manage their own submissions and because of the complexity of UK tax law for the self-employed. This diverts valuable time away from their businesses. Every minute a self-employed person spends on the phone is time they could be using to generate money through their business. They simply cannot afford to be diverted by long waiting times and poor administration from HMRC.

“This year, the problem will only be compounded for the self-employed by HMRC’s poorly publicised ban on using credit cards to pay taxes. By only announcing the ban in late December, not long before the tax deadline, HMRC caused significant problems for the self-employed.

“HMRC should take the extra strain – and cost – for the self-employed into account and make sure they are allocating their resources as efficiently as possible to give taxpayers the support and assistance they need.”

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