Millions of people are still completing their 19/20 taxes at the moment and while services such as untied are helping people take control of their taxes, there are many reasons that someone needs to be contacting HMRC at this time.

Anyone who has tried to call the self-assessment phone line recently will have found that its availability has been affected by COVID-19. Callers are currently having to wait 50% longer to get through, compared with the same time 12 months ago.

To help our users, we did some research into the best times of day to call. We discovered that it was easier and quicker to talk to an HMRC agent towards the end of the week, particularly on a Thursday morning as soon as the phone lines open at 8am, when the wait time is around six minutes. This compares with over 22 minutes at 4pm on a Monday.

We therefore suggest if you are calling HMRC, do it first thing in the morning, on a Thursday or Friday. Otherwise, you may be on hold for a long time before you can talk to someone. At peak times, we also found that callers were being cut off as the lines were too busy. Phone lines are naturally busier, and wait times will become longer on the run up to the tax deadline. January is always a time-consuming period for the self-employed, made even more challenging this year by lockdown and home-schooling, so the earlier you can get your taxes in (and get any queries answered by HMRC), the better!

Also, before contacting HMRC, do check the phone opening times as they seem to be shorter than previous years.

Picture credit: Torsten Dederichs @tdederichs on Unsplash – thank you.