HMRC has revealed that it plans to close a massive 137 local tax offices over the next 12 years centralising the workload into 13 large regional centres which will be opening over the next 5 years. This amounts to 4 out of every 5 offices!
The regional service centres will be in:
- Newcastle Upon Tyne
This will be coupled with job losses and continued closures of walk in centres.
This is all part of a larger modernisation programme by HMRC which includes new online services and ways of working. This should make the service more efficient and hopefully not affect queries. However one can’t help being a little sceptical.
If you have ever tried to ring HMRC on the phone you will know how difficult it is to finally get to speak to someone. Last year HMRC received nearly 65 million phone calls and only 72.5% of the calls were answered which equates to 18.1m phone calls which were not even answered. Of those calls which were answered citizens advice carried out a survey and found that on average people were kept waiting 47 minutes.
The worrying part is that in January 2015 there was of course a spike with people calling about their tax return, during this time the percentage of calls answered fell to 66.5%.
A list of these statistics can be found here.
HMRC have recently taken on an additional 3,000 members of staff to try and combat the delays so if you need to ring them about your tax return in the next few months hopefully you can get through.
Our recommendation is to ring them at unusual times when less people are phoning, so first thing in the morning of later in the evening outside of normal business hours.