Need to contact HMRC? Follow our tips

Published on 17 December 2014

HMRC’s telephone lines are often busy and may be more so in the run up to ‘peak’ tax return filing time – 31 January. If you are struggling to get through to them, read our hints and tips.

Problems getting through to HMRC by telephone seem to make a regular appearance in the news, and recent reports from the BBC and Which? reinforce concerns raised by LITRG earlier this year.

In the run-up to 31 January, one of HMRC’s busiest times with the peak season of filing self-assessment tax returns, it is worth remembering what you can do if you need telephone support from them.

Below is a selection of our top hints and tips – including how to access extra support if you have particular needs:

  • Some times of the day and year are busier than others and you may find yourself listening to music while on hold in a queue before you are put through to an adviser. Most of HMRC’s lines are open 8 am to 8 pm weekdays and 8 am to 4 pm on Saturdays. If you can avoid: 
    - the lunch hour, 
    - just after 9 am, and 
    - evenings
    you should find the waiting time shorter. Try calling at 8.15 am, between say 2 pm and 4 pm during the week, or for some lines, you could try Saturday.
  • If you have a speech impairment, are deaf or hard of hearing or need the help of an adviser at a face-to-face meeting, you can check the 'dealing with HMRC' pages.
  • You can now email HMRC about various matters and avoid using the telephone altogether – for example, to tell them a change of name or address. Also, if your tax code for the present year is wrong, you can contact them by email.
  • You can, of course, still write to HMRC, but it will take longer to get a reply. When writing, make sure you quote your tax reference number (National Insurance Number or self-assessment reference number) and head your letter with the subject, for example ‘TAX CODE QUERY’ (this will improve the time it takes to process your query). Keep a copy of the letter for your records. You can also use the ‘Where’s my reply’ service to find out broadly how long it will take to get a response from HMRC.

(17-12-2014)

Contact: Liz Hughes (please use form at /contact-us) or follow us on Twitter: @LITRGNews