HMRC call wait times up threefold since 2009
Filed under: Tax
The new numbers were sourced via the Freedom of Information Act. Why has the waiting got so bad?
Need to know: Savings
The Public and Commercial Services union claims 30,000 HMRC jobs have been lost since 2005 (and it's fighting plans to cut thousands of more jobs). So fewer HMRC working the phones may be having an impact.
Recently MPs on the Public Accounts Committee claimed more than £1 billion more in tax could have been collected if HMRC had not axed so many staff: "The department must consider whether further staff cuts will deliver value for money for the taxpayer."
HMRC is currently trialling private companies to handle tax credit inquiries. HMRC staff recently voted for industrial action following concern over the changes - more than 50% of staff support walkouts, it's claimed.
Under attackHMRC is taking a battering on other fronts: there has been an increase in disputes going to tax tribunals claims law firm Pinsent Masons, the law firm. Last year these increased 20% from 9,100 to 11,000. Government figures claiming complaints from the public about HMRC responses to tax issues are also on the rise.
Earlier in 2012 HMRC acknowledged it had sent out 12,000 incorrect penalty threats. To top it all there was the recent disastrous launch of HMRC's tax calculator website, which attempts to show how Government money is spent. Huge interest saw the HMRC website crash, unable to cope with the strain of 400,000 hits.
Meanwhile HMRC is directing energy into tax guidelines should you decide to sell your Olympic Torch (a Somerset gardener has already sold hers on eBay for more than £150,000).