Need to get in touch with the taxman? Here are some tips to make contacting HMRC as quick and pain-free as possible.
Getting in touch with HMRC: Our study has found a recent increase in call times
Getting in contact with HMRC is a task many of us dread.
Contacting HMRC can be a daunting task that many of us approach with reluctance. Regrettably, the challenge of reaching the tax authorities by phone is growing increasingly frustrating. According to research conducted by our technical team here at RDI, we found that during the previous year's Self Assessment season, callers had to endure an average wait time of 12.5 minutes to connect with HMRC's Self Assessment phone line. This marked an increase from the previous year's 11-minute wait time during the same period.
Kevin Guest, Commercial Director at RDI Solutions, said: “Having previously held a consulting role at HMRC for a number of years. We always found that Q1 is typically the busiest time of the year for HMRC phone lines because millions of people tend to wait until the very last minute to file their taxes and then find they need assistance.
Should you ever need to get hold of the taxman, here are some tips to make the process as pain-free as possible.
How to contact HMRC by phone: What's the best number to call?
HMRC has a number of different departments with handlers that deal with a varied range of issues. So, in order, to avoid being passed from pillar to post or getting lost in the menus you can save time by using the relevant number for your query rather than the general contact number.
Here are some of the different numbers for the departments you might need to speak to:
Self-Assessment helpline: 0300 200 3310
Child Benefits helpline: 0300 200 3100
Employer helpline: 0300 200 3200
Income Tax helpline: 0300 200 3300
National Insurance helpline: 0300 200 3500
HMRC online services helpdesk: 0300 200 3600
Online debit and credit card payment support: 0300 200 3601
VAT general enquiries: 0300 200 3700
Tax Credits helpline: 0345 300 3900
You can find more relevant numbers on the contact HMRC page.
What's the best time to call HMRC?
The timing of your call to HMRC can significantly influence your waiting time to reach a representative. According to research conducted by our technical team, the most favourable times to call are in the morning, specifically between 8:30 am and 9:30 am, as well as during early lunch hours, from noon to 12:30 pm. During these time slots, taxpayers experienced an average wait time of just four and a half minutes before connecting with an adviser.
Conversely, the least ideal times to call were found to be between 4:30 pm and 5 pm, when the wait extended to 12 minutes to speak with an agent. During peak periods, some taxpayers have even reported being disconnected.
We also found that it's more convenient to contact HMRC toward the end of the work week.