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HMRC - Recorded Message

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Posted by: Tony Margaritelli | Last modified on 25/01/2019

HMRC Recorded Message

I received an email from an accountant on the 4th January regarding a call to HMRC helplines as follows:

“I have just been on the VAT helpline and whilst waiting for a response one of the recorded messages went on to say.....

‘we are very busy ......  if it is concerning VAT try phoning back after the 8th when we will be less busy’

What is the deadline for November Returns ........ oh yes, Jan 7th.”

This one conversation sums up HMRC totally highlighting that away from selected staff that are predominately involved in the Investigation and Enquiry dept. the quality and depth of knowledge is actually not good enough. Is it right that HMRC should be a) admitting that they have insufficient staff to actually answer a taxpayer’s call and b) use a recorded message to put off the caller for 4 days?

The answer is of course no it is not acceptable and just because they say they are very busy does that make it right? I dread to think how they would react if we said to them the very same.

But as my colleague points out if you have a vat query and you want to avoid a fine you actually do need an answer before the filing deadline don’t you? Now do HMRC know this? Do they care? On the evidence of this one call the answer would appear to be NO on both counts.