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Is it just me or......??

Is it just me or do other people get fobbed off with any old number when you ring HMRC?  I have just telephoned HMRC contact number on clients VAT registration notification to try and change the VAT stagger period.  The very helpful person at HMRC advised me I needed to contact another (VAT) department and he gave me the direct telephone number.  I duly rang the number and found that the number I had been given was for the HMRC Business Payment Support line. Grrreat!  Am I missing something - is today some sort of April Fools that I have not heard about? It is hard enough to find the right person to speak to at HMRC without being sent on wild goose chases.  Can anyone help with the correct telephone number I need to ring to change my client's VAT stagger period please?

Many thanks from the bottom of my totally exasperated heart.


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Happens to me all the time

The number I am given is generally not the one I needed.  I once got put through to a switchboard and ended up back with the person I had just spoken to.

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Glad I am not the only one. 

Glad I am not the only one.  We would soon start losing clients if we practised such tactics. Thank you for replying to my rant.  I feel better now that I know it is not just me it is happening to.



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Are you (or the client) registered for online VAT

I've always found the easiest way to change VAT stagger is to request a change of registration details via online VAT.

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Online VAT

I am registered for Online VAT for my clients but the registration has only just come through so they are not on our system yet.

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Download form VAT484 and complete and submit - simples!


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Job done

Thank you! I should have known it was easier to do it on paper.  I thought I was saving time by phoning!


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No - you are not the only one.  My record so far is 5 different numbers that eventually gave me the one I started with!

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That would really.....

That would really tick me off - as it is I have had to put the phone back together after it took the brunt of my annoyance.  Perhaps it is some sort of new HMRC initiative to up their numbers of calls answered - just fob the caller off anywhere as long as it gets answered because they need to get the statistics up. 

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The level of cynicism regarding HM Revenue & Customs here!

It is approaching the level of 'just below adequate'


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They are under pressure

They are targeted to answer the phone quickly and deal with you within something like 40 seconds. So if they give you a random phone number and move on that is a successful conclusion on their log.

We called this lack of goal congruence when I was  studying management, but that was in the 70's so I suppose the bright young consultants have never heard of it.


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veering slightly off topic

I had to give a hollow laugh at the following comment regarding call answering times in the report on "Administration and effectiveness of HM Revenue and Customs" quoting from a PAC report that:

"callers waited on average two minutes,and nearly four minutes in peak periods to speak to an advisor"

Now whilst the Agent Line response time is normally pretty good, and within those parameters, my experience of ringing the general enquiry centre as a pleb is an average wait of around 25 minutes - the best just over 17 minutes and the worst around 31 minutes with at least 2 minutes of recorded messages and automated menus before the wait begins.

The whole report is pretty damning on service issues, but then we knew that already didn't we!?

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HMC call answering

One of my worst experiences with an HMRC call was a few weeks ago when I was passed from pillar to post on and SMP issue.  I was asked to hold while I was connected to another advisor about four times.  Each time I was put on hold I had a waiting time that lasted anywhere between 10 and 25 minutes, the previous advisors all said that I would be put on hold until the next advisor was free, but there is no indication on their system of how long you may have to wait.  The entire call from start to finish lasted almost two hours.  I was very sorely tempted to hang up several times but I could not face going through the whole shebang again.

Has anyone ever tracked how much calls to HMRC are actually costing them?

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Chris Smail PM | Fri, 05/08/2011 - 13:25 | Permalink

"We called this lack of goal congruence when I was studying management, but that was in the 70's so I suppose the bright young consultants have never heard of it. "


Be realistic, whoever set up HMRC's call handling system is obviously still struggling to master joined up writing.


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Drives you mad!

Yes happens all the time. I have actually twice been given numbers that are dead!

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