Whats the Telephone Number for HMRC About Self Assessment?

If you need to speak to HMRC about your Self Assessment tax return HMRC’s central telephone number for Self Assessment is 0845 900 0444.

Be prepared to be on the phone for an average of 20 to 30  minutes (cost circa £1  and likely a lot more from a mobile) listening to music and have to go through about 1 or more “press 1 for, 2 for” senarios. See my post http://taxblogs.co.uk/?p=167 about just how dithering and frankly uncommitted HMRC are to vastly improving telephone customer service.

The pres 1 for.. 2 for… is mind blowingly confusing, way to complex and VERY time consuming. Sometimes you press a 5. say then after a 15 minute saga the recorded voice at the end says “call back later..” and then hangs up! I have had that a few times now. It is insane. The whole HMRC telephone system is very confusing for novices at calling HMRC and even us seasoned professionals or experienced callers to HMRC cannot fathom the options some of the time.

HMRC state they make no money out of the 0845 number system. But someone is ! Their telecommunications supplier ! Whoever it is (it is not publically stated yet as far as I can see) by my estimate they are making a lot of money out of HMRC’s lack of organisation and poor service and the use of 0845 numbers.

Assuming only 5000 callers to HMRC a day on the phone for an average 30 minutes at 3p per minute (assumes no calls made from mobile phones either) the telecommunications supplier will be making at least £4500 a day out of the phone mess at HMRC, thats a coll £1.1 Million pounds minimum a year.

The likely number of callers and length of a lot of calls to HMRC a day is much more likely to be substantially more than this so the profit could easily be £4 Million plus a year. What a waste of taxpayers money. This money could be better spent on things families and people really need! In times of hardship… HMRC don’t give two hoots. Watch the Dame Lesley Strathie, HMRC’s Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary, and the Treasury Select Committee interview

I have asked HMRC how much time is spent on calls to 0845 number and HMRC claim not to know… (more like they don’t want to know…)

It is worth noting here that HMRC have been heavily critised by Parlimentary Select Committees at least twice about the use of 0845 numbers long waiting times for callers etc and the cost to taxpayers calling HMRC. But it is clear that HMRC senior staff feel they a law to themselves and shrug off MP’s complaints and demands. HMRC are supposed to be changing to 03 numbers which are cheaper to call generally. However suprise suprise it is taking HMRC YEARS to do anything about it.

Other big companies and organisations manage to run simple reliable telephone call services why can’t HMRC? Poor management it is as simple as that. Excuse after excuse from HMRC.  If HMRC cannot do the job, they HMRC needs replacing with something much better organised and efficient.

Also be aware that HMRC are NOT always right in the advice they give out. In fact in my experience a lot of the time they are very wrong.

Therefore ALWAYS take the name of the person at HMRC you speak to and a call reference if they will offer one.

Always make a diary note or other record of the call too in case the advice given to you by HMRC turns out to be wrong.

Problems Getting a UTR Reference (Unique TaxPayers Reference)

If you are calling HMRC for a UTR reference so you can file a Self Assessment Tax Return HMRC informed me today when helping a client get one that it is taking up to SIX WEEKS to issue UTRs at present.

I have been trying for the client I called with today (again), and so has the client themsleves since the beginning of December 2011 and HMRC fobed the client and me off with various questions or excuses.

They FINALLY agreed to send out a UTR today.

HMRC just seem to make life difficult for people trying to comply these days. Quite possibly that is so they can collect extra in fines?

I cannot see any other reason to make basic things difficult for taxpayers, especially Taxpayers new to the extremely complex Self Assessment system, other than to try and collect extra in fines from taxpayers?

After a very frustrating telephone call today to HMRC that lasted over 40 minutes (25 listening to music with messages like we will get to you soon… type rubbish) to then speak to a rather rude and unhelpful member of staff at HMRC (not at all uncommon) I finished the day thinking if I never had to speak to HMRC again what a better place the world would be.

Note To George Orbourne About HMRC

Dear Mr Osbourne, if you wonder why there is so much uncollected tax spend a few days trying to speak to HMRC on the phone.

Try writing them a letter and see if you get a reply. Normally they don’t even bother replying to letters these days or take ages to do so.

HMRC is a complete shambles and getting worse by the year.

Inefficient, time wasting, rude staff, poorly trained staff and DEFINATELY NOT customer focused.

It is a joke frankly, and as Chancellor of the Exchequer untimately your are responsible for this shambles of an organisation.

I have been a qualified tax adviser for over 20 years, some of the complete rubbish HMRC staff come out with these days is a disgrace, or worse it is very misleading for taxpayers, and under Self Assessment HMRC will simply blame the taxpayer no matter what HMRC have advised on the phone.

HMRC is no longer an organisation fit for purpose….

Many HMRC Staff Themselves Very Unhappy and Disillusioned

Speaking to HMRC on a regular basis it is clear that many HMRC are unhappy with the organisation themselves. I hear it all the time from HMRC staff themselves. Many are dissillusioned about the way HMRC is run now.

Many of these staff at HMRC are just trying to do their best in an organisation that is so poorly organised.

It’s not lack of staff that is the problem, it is the use of those resources and management level failures that is making the situation so poor.

Who is to blame?

The Treasury and Senior Management at HMRC are fair and squarly to blame for such a poor situation at HMRC.

But as Government (of whatever party) seems totally unable to get a grip of HMRC and turn it into a fit for purpose organisation the extremely bad state of HMRC is likely to just get worse with time, as it has steadily been doing so over the last five or so years.

And the PAYE Coding system is so badly flawed like a number if HMRC systems, but that’s another story… (likely to roll on and on and on…..)

Boy oh boy. What a mess…