26 January 2021

untied says call HMRC in the morning for shorter waiting times

  • HMRC’s call wait times have increased over 50% since this time last year

London, UK – untied, the UK’s personal tax app, today revealed that callers are having to wait longer to get through to HMRC’s self-assessment phone line this year, compared to the same time 12 months ago.  Nonetheless, it tends to be easier to get through to HMRC first thing in the morning and towards the end of the week.

The research into HMRC’s average call wait time was conducted over a two-week period in January 2021, in the lead up to the fast-approaching self-assessment tax deadline.

Thursdays are the best day to call HMRC

untied found that it was easier to get through to HMRC towards the end of the week, particularly on a Thursday, with an average wait time of 11 minutes, although this is likely to get longer as the tax deadline approaches. In general, the best time of day to call is in the morning between 8:00am, when phone lines open, and around 11:00am, when callers will be on hold for 6 minutes.

Lines are busiest on Mondays

untied found that Mondays are the busiest days to call, with the lines tending to be busy during both the morning and afternoon, with an average call wait time of 15 minutes. The average duration increases after 4:00pm and goes up to 22 minutes.

From 4:00pm-6:00pm early in the week the lines may become too busy which results in the caller being cut off.  However, this is not immediate with individuals being kept on the phone to answer four questions about why they are calling, which can take up to two minutes to answer.  A longer wait time or cut off call is also common between 12:00pm-2:00pm.

Last year, research showed that the best time of day to call was between 8:30am and 9:30am or early lunchtime between noon and 12:30pm.  Taxpayers waited an average of four and a half minutes to speak to an advisor at these times. The worst times were between 4:30pm and 5:00pm when it took 12 minutes to speak to an agent. At peak times, taxpayers also reported being cut off.

Kevin Sefton, CEO at untied, commented: “Increased wait times are likely to be down to two reasons.  The number of self-employed workers is increasing significantly all the time which means more tax returns will be submitted.  This results in more people needing guidance on how to do this.  The other reason is that the Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted people across the UK as the deadline approaches.  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.”

Kevin continues: “January is always a time-consuming period for the self-employed, made even more challenging this year by lockdown and home-schooling.  Our advice has always been to get ahead and not leave tax returns until the last minute just in case something else crops up, particularly as it’s now getting more difficult to contact HMRC directly.  Also, before contacting HMRC, do check the phone opening times as they seem to be shorter than previous years.”

untied: untied is the UK’s personal tax app. It is built for people, not accountants and is designed especially to help sole traders to get on top of their taxes. untied is the only end to end app that enables users to link their bank accounts, makes tax sense of their transactions and files directly to HMRC. untied launched untied for gig workers in April, the first tax product designed specifically for these workers. untied’s partners include Revolut, Deliveroo, Stuart and Deloitte. untied is regulated by the FCA, supervised by the Chartered Institute of Taxation, and recognised by HMRC.  Find out more about untied.

About HMRC: HMRC are the UK’s tax, payments and customs authority, and have a vital purpose: they collect the money that pays for the UK’s public services and help families and individuals with targeted financial support. They do this by being impartial and increasingly effective and efficient in their administration. HMRC help the honest majority to get their tax right and make it hard for the dishonest minority to cheat the system.

Contact: Alicia Mederick / Chantal Heckford pr@untied.io