If you’ve ever tried to get in touch with the taxman, you’ll know how tricky it can be – and how long it can take. Lots of people have been known to experience long waiting times, and it’s no surprise that some of them end up abandoning their attempt before they even manage to speak to someone.
So, with this in mind, we’ve compiled some handy tips to make getting through to HMRC as fuss-free and as easily as possible. Just bear in mind that every day is different, so there are no hard and fast rules. But we hope you’ll use this as a guide to help you on your way.
What’s the best way to contact them?
HMRC is the tax and customs authority here in the UK, and part of their role is collecting our taxes. For some of us, the thought of getting in touch with them fills us with dread – especially if it’s January, and your tax return is due (with the self-assessment deadline looming on January 31). At this time of year, HMRC are absolutely inundated with queries from people who’ve left filing their tax return until the last minute.
So, if you need to get in touch with HMRC, here are a few ways to do it:
Give them a call
Sometimes, you just need to speak to someone in person, and the easiest way to do this is to pick up the phone for help. The line is open from 8am to 8pm on weekdays. And from 8am to 4pm on Saturdays (bear in mind that it’s closed on Sundays). Whenever you decide to call, it’s worth noting the time and date when you do, as well as the name of the person you spoke to.
You should also make a note of anything you discussed, anything that was agreed, and any other information you think could be important. That way, you’ll have a record and a reminder of the communication you’ve had with them.
Visit the website
If you don’t want to wait around to speak to an adviser, then your query could be dealt with online instead. For example, if you want to inform HMRC of your new address or you think your tax code could be wrong, then you can simply fill in a form online.
Have a web chat
HMRC also has a web chat service, which could come in handy if you’re looking online for information. HMRC’s virtual assistant is called ‘Ruth’, and it can help with things like tax credits, self-assessment and more. To get the help you need, all you need to do is enter a few words describing your issue (like, I’ve lost my User ID) and you’ll be directed to the information you need. Have a look at the contact HMRC page to find out more.
Hit social media
Did you know that you can get in touch with HMRC via one of their social media channels? You can post general enquiries here if you like and receive a reply from an adviser. Information about new policies and key deadlines will also be posted here, so it’s worth following or subscribing if this sounds like something you might be interested in.
There’s a variety of different Twitter accounts to choose from, depending on your needs. @HMRCcustomers is one of them, dedicated to general queries about HMRC products or services – and it’s open from Monday to Friday between 8am and 8pm, and Saturday from 8am to 4pm. Alternatively, @HMRCBusiness offers help and information about tax, and it’s open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
If you want to call, the best time is…
Luckily for you, we have some insider knowledge to share with you. Recent research (carried out by tax insurers and investigators PfP) has shown that the best time to call is:
- Early morning, between 8.30am and 9.30am
- Lunchtime, between 12pm and 12.30pm
During the times listed above, taxpayers waited 4.5 minutes on average to be put through to an assistant.
And what about the worst times to call? Well, that’s between 4.30pm and 5pm. The average waiting time goes up to 12 minutes at this time of day.