One in four tax helpline calls go unanswered

by Calum Fuller

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01 May 2012

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A call centre worker

A QUARTER of tax helpline phone calls are unanswered according to the Treasury.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has numbers available for taxpayers to call for help and advice, but approximately one in four fails to get through, with no guidelines for how long callers should wait until an adviser picks up.
Exchequer secretary, David Gauke said HMRC "does not have a target time for answering telephone calls", reported the Press Association.

He added: "HMRC uses a variety of measures to assess the accessibility of telephone services, which include the percentage of call attempts handled by its contact centres.

"In 2011/12, HMRC has significantly improved the number of call attempts handled to 74% (compared to the 48% in the previous year)."

An 0845 number provided by HMRC automatically answers within a few seconds - which causes callers to be charged - but taxpayers have a variety of options and often spend time on hold before speaking to an operator.

Frequently, this frustrates customers, who hang up after failing to speak to someone.

In a written Parliamentary answer, Mr Gauke added: "HMRC recognises there are further improvements to be made and aim to achieve 90% of call attempts handled by 2014/15."

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