We have all had to call HMRC’s helplines at one time or another. Although HMRC are moving to a ‘digital by default’ regime, sometimes there is the need to talk to a real person rather than trawl HMRC’s guidance or talk to an automated chat facility or HMRC app.
It is useful to have an indication of the expected wait times, something that does exist on the PAYE Helpline (0300 200 3401) which can answer general queries about making payments. The expected wait times are based on the average of calls from the previous day and HMRC advise that this has directed callers to other help routes which may help them resolve their query elsewhere. They also advise that it has reduced waiting time from 40 minutes to below 20, allowing them to take more calls.
In July 2023, HMRC advised that they had introduced this expected wait time facility on other helplines, as follows:
- Child Benefit (0300 200 3100)
- Construction Industry Scheme (0300 200 3210)
- Employers (0300 200 3200)
- National Insurance (0300 200 3500)
- Online services (0300 200 3600)
- Tax credits (0345 300 3900)
- VAT (0300 200 3700)
HMRC’s communication refers to this introduction of waiting times as being ‘open and transparent’ with callers. This is true, yet the overriding message remains one to encourage the use of digital services as the first option.