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HMRC 'Helpines' less than helpful?

HMRC 'Helpines' less than helpful?

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Is it just me or is anyone finding HMRC 'help lines' defensive, aggressive in tone and rude about other departments that they indicate are the only ones who can deal with the issue?

A client received a PAYE debt management letter from HMRC for a couple of thousand from 2014/15 & 15/16.

We are happy that all has been paid and that this is down to payments being made early allocated to incorrect periods (reference not adjusted when payment made to reflect early payment) and a 2013/14 dispute that has been closed although they have not bothered to update the PAYE due record.

I called the Debt Management number as instructed to by the letter and the employer’s helpline pre-recorded message. We had a 20-minute discussion and he mentioned a £1,900 unallocated payment which was not referred to in the payment request from debt management. He then said that he could not deal with allocating payments and that I should call the employers helpline for this. I called them and (after a 20-minute wait) they said he shouldn’t have referred me to them as only Payment Enquiries could deal with this. I called payment enquiries and their position was 'tell me the date of the payment and the month that you want it allocated to'................I tried to explain that I knew where the issue arose but the lady just kept with the 'you tell me how to allocate it' then became a 'you didn't ask me that'/'yes I did' very unfriendly call! Basically I was trying to explain that I knew what the difference was but I did not know how HMRC had it recorded (not the same as the online record) so couldn't tell her which specific period to re-allocate and that, either way, we would be left with the 2013/14 dispute which was resolved and closed but the balance not removed from the record. 

I knew that the problem was the initial 2013/14 dispute that has been resolved but the PAYE record has not been updated (nothing was ever due!) but the lady on the phone insisted I go through all payments 01/4/13 onwards and tell her how they should be allocated........................70 minutes later and after getting the unallocated payment allocated, the final difference was indeed the 2013/14 dispute amount of £800ish although HMRC have 'moved' this to 2015/16 with re-allocations................what a mess.

By the way the PAYE online account shows a completely different picture and HMRC indicated that they don't 'see' this their end anyway.

I can’t' believe that that the initial demand for payment made no reference to the unallocated amount which, with the 2013/14 dispute amount (which should no longer be on the record brought the balance to nil.

All in all,.......................three hours wasted and a worried/unhappy client...........

I find their attitude is one of let’s complete the call and move on i.e. not interested in helping at all, just achieving call centre targets.

They spooked my client with the size of the demand and it's outrageous that they ignore credits on the account if they have not allocated them.

..............rant over!








Replies (2)

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By SteLacca
06th Dec 2018 11:09

Because of the move to processing teams, and the fragmentation of work within HMRC, it's almost impossible to have any issue that crosses over between teams resolved simply and easily.

A far cry from the days of whole case working, when one individual would take responsibility for everything.

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By GHarr497688
06th Dec 2018 19:19

I totally agree that the help given us dreadful. The operatives answer with an bad attitude and automatically assume that you are wrong. They are impolite and far to official in the modern age. The reason they are like this is that they have no one to answer too and can say what they like. Very sad state of affairs and not getting any better .

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