HMRC Puts Taxpayers on Hold for up to 47 Minutes, says Citizens Advice

Taxpayers who’ve been trying to call HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) across a range of queries have been kept waiting for over three quarters of an hour, research by Citizens Advice has claimed.

The study showed that over the last year 11,500 frustrated callers turned to Twitter to complain.

The study looked at 34,000 tweets made between August 2014 and August 2015. Those who turned to Twitter to complain had to wait an average of 47 minutes before their call was answered.

Such calls could in many cases cost consumers £4.66 on call charges, the advice bureau calculated.

HMRC said the research was "unscientific," and "out of date". The official waiting time is supposed to be 10 minutes; the tax office recently said it was taking on an extra 3,000 staff to try to lessen delays.

"We are sorry that some customers have struggled to get hold of us, but this unscientific and out of date survey of tweets does not represent the real picture now," said an HMRC spokesperson.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice was not impressed. 

"People are paying the price for not getting through to HMRC".

Government figures showed that 17 million calls to HMRC went unanswered in the previous year.

HMRC chief executive Lin Homer will appear before MPs on Wednesday afternoon.