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News - 18 December 2012

How much does it cost to phone the Tax Man?

According to a National Audit Office (NAO) report, delays cost customers £33m in call charges while they waited for HMRC to answer the phone and the estimated value of customer time while they waited was £103m.

The NAO said callers have been waiting longer to speak to an adviser - an average of 282 seconds compared with 107 seconds in 2009-10.

Many of HMRC's phone lines have 0845 prefixes, which can cost callers on mobile phones between 12p and 41p per minute, whether they are on hold or speaking to someone.

Calls from landlines cost between 1p and 10.5p per minute, depending on the time of day.

In the first six months of the current financial year, some 6.5 million people were kept on hold for longer than 10 minutes - a quarter of all callers.

The NAO found that there had been some progress since thousands more staff were drafted in, with the 74% pick-up rate significantly higher than the 48% recorded in 2010/11.

However, the report warned that the figures probably underestimated the issue, as calls are counted as answered even if they do not reach an adviser.

If you are unsure and need any help and advice on Self Assessment or want the burden taken off your hands, contact  the ABDS Tax Department Now.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
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