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HMRC PHONING AGENTS

HMRC PHONING AGENTS

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Does anyone else find this frustrating :

HMRC phones us as agents and gives us a name of the client and asks to speak to whoever deals with that client. They then ask us to confirm who we are by asking us personal information on the client. If we don’t give them the information they ask for then they won’t speak to us.

This annoys me because, firstly it is them phoning us and not us phoning them. If they phone us should we not be asking them to confirm who they are in the same way we need to confirm to them when we phone HMRC call centres? Secondly, how do we know this is not a fraudster pretending to be HMRC and looking to gather some extra information on the client which we would give them if we answer their questions?

I would like to know what other agents do in this case and if they are worried that it is not HMRC calling but in fact a fraudster?

Replies (29)

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By MissAccounting
03rd Oct 2013 12:46

Ive told a few to sling their hook if I have been in a less than best mood!

I bank with HSBC and their fraud team seems to call me on a almost weekly basis to query something and the operate a similar way but they say something along the lines of "can you confirm who a transaction of £123 on the 5th of the month was to" and then they ask you to complete the remainder of the security question so you know its not a fraudster chancing their arm!

Actually Ive just remembered that I did go through the security questions with them, they must have caught me after a lunch time glass of wine, and once I had passed they turned round and said "can you tell us why your client hasnt paid their Corporation Tax bill?" Idiots!

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By johngroganjga
03rd Oct 2013 12:52

I always refuse to answer the security questions.  They then say that they cannot deal with the matter over the phone and will write.  I ask why they wasted time phoning in the first place then ....

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Replying to wamstax:
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By Phil Rees
03rd Oct 2013 12:56

Same here

johngroganjga wrote:

I always refuse to answer the security questions.  They then say that they cannot deal with the matter over the phone and will write. 

Same here.

Why do they always seem surprised that I will not divulge confidential information to an unidentified caller?

 

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By Kirkers
03rd Oct 2013 12:54

I would personally request that they put any queries in writing. Failing that I would say that I'll call back on the normal agents SA line and speak to an adviser that way.

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By ccassociates
03rd Oct 2013 13:00

Similar

When they are satisfied who you are they ask why client X hasnt paid their PAYE and you have to tell them "I dont know, why dont you ask him" its all part of the silly game called working together, shortly to be entitled "will you do all our work for us for nothing"

Sorry, Thursday is cynic day

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By K81
03rd Oct 2013 13:08

don't do it.

I never answer their questions, as you say, could be anyone pretending to be HMRC.  Its usually the debt management unit anyway so unsure what exactly they think we can do to make the client pay them!

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Me!
By nigelburge
03rd Oct 2013 13:41

If they ask security questions when they phone

then I have found that they are invariably the Collection department. I always ask them security questions first - highly enjoyable, cos they never answer them.

Whenever a real Inspector has phoned with a genuine query, they never ask me any security questions and are usually charming (as of course am I - Haha!)

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By Kazmc
03rd Oct 2013 13:51

We have those phone calls..........

and its brilliant fun telling them they need to "pass our security"........ they never do and say they will write in :)

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Euan's picture
By Euan MacLennan
03rd Oct 2013 13:51

If HMRC calls you as the agent ...

... ask them to confirm your Agent ID (the one that is shown top right on your agent online services pages).  After all, it is the reference which HMRC has allocated to you.  If they cannot quote it, I take the same line as others above.

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By magocks
03rd Oct 2013 14:21

At a loss

Yeah, when I ask them how can I be sure they are in fact HMRC and not a fraudster they can't answer. If I ask them if they can confirm to me who they are they say I need to confirm first - seems childish but true. I don't understand why they seem to be annoyed and personally hurt when I don't answer their questions. In fact HMRC and banking agencies etc are constantly telling people not to divulge information to callers on the phone until they can prove who they are so I don't understand why HMRC think this is acceptable.

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By The Innkeeper
03rd Oct 2013 14:25

@Euan

Have been doing this for ages. Recently had two fail. Also remind them that Data Protection Act applies to us as much as to them

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By MzEden
03rd Oct 2013 16:11

I once had a call from HMRC. Went to go through some questions and I asked if they had the client reference number. They said no. 'It'll be on their 64-8' I said, 'We don't have a 64-8 for that client' she replied.

I told her that unfortunately she wasn't authorised to speak to me about the client without a 64-8.

The woman ignored that and tried to ask me some more security question and I just repeated that without a 64-8 SHE couldn't talk to ME about that client.

The woman was confused and told me that she'd rung me. She was calling from HMRC!

'I know but YOU are not authorised to speak to ME about that client without a signed 64-8 so you'll have to ring me back when you get one. Goodbye!'

I then hung up on her and had a good chuckle to myself.

Petty? Yep! Satisfying? You bet!

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Replying to Matrix:
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By Carolynne
08th Oct 2013 12:03

I once had a call from HMRC

MzEden wrote:

I once had a call from HMRC. Went to go through some questions and I asked if they had the client reference number. They said no. 'It'll be on their 64-8' I said, 'We don't have a 64-8 for that client' she replied.

I told her that unfortunately she wasn't authorised to speak to me about the client without a 64-8.

The woman ignored that and tried to ask me some more security question and I just repeated that without a 64-8 SHE couldn't talk to ME about that client.

The woman was confused and told me that she'd rung me. She was calling from HMRC!

'I know but YOU are not authorised to speak to ME about that client without a signed 64-8 so you'll have to ring me back when you get one. Goodbye!'

I then hung up on her and had a good chuckle to myself.

Petty? Yep! Satisfying? You bet!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         I think this answer deserves a 'Brilliant Answer Award!'  It's great.  I've printed it off now and stuck it on the desk under my keyboard, now when they phone I am prepared.  No Cust Ref from my 64-8 and I won't be able to speak to you.  Flipping hilarious, that'll keep my smiling all afternoon that one.  Well Done!  : -)
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By Flash Gordon
03rd Oct 2013 17:19

Simple

I don't pick up the phone :)

If HMRC wants to talk to me they'll have to come round and shout through the letterbox. Loudly as the dog will be barking at them. 

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By Mouse007
03rd Oct 2013 18:00

Gone one better

Given them the "fax" number and unplugged the fax machine.

 

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Replying to Moonbeam:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
03rd Oct 2013 18:05

or

the stunned silence when you ask them for their mother's maiden name.

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By ds
03rd Oct 2013 18:05

Charging

Say there is a fifty pound administration charge involved, that usually gets rid of most cold callers.

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By angie.simms
07th Oct 2013 11:31

I asked this question at a recent HMRC seminar I attended at Grimsby HMRC.  I was advised that HMRC had decided this was not good practice and it had been abolished ages ago, she could not understand why we were still being asked to go through security where they have phone us.  She advised that we say we have been advised by HMRC that we no longer have to answer these questions and if the caller is not happy then ask to speak to their manager!!  Make a note of the time and date and officers name and then if necessary escalate to your Agent Accounts Manager with HMRC!!!

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Replying to johnjenkins:
Me!
By nigelburge
07th Oct 2013 12:32

Very useful info. - thanks.

angie.simms wrote:

She advised that we say we have been advised by HMRC that we no longer have to answer these questions and if the caller is not happy then ask to speak to their manager!!  Make a note of the time and date and officers name and then if necessary escalate to your Agent Accounts Manager with HMRC!!!

But..... why on earth should we waste our time doing this when they want to speak to us in the first place? As I have mentioned before, it is usually the Collection Department asking why out clients have not paid their tax. At least when they fail our security checks, we don't get asked what must be one of the most stupid questions ever. "Why has your client not paid the tax due and when are they going to pay it?"

What a bunch of muppets!

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By Michael C Feltham
07th Oct 2013 12:20

Random Calls: HMRC??

When I have the time and am besieged by idiots in foreign call centres prattling incomprehensibly I say "I'll just take you through security: can you please give me the first, fifth, sixteenth and thirty third character of your membership number and next the first, seventh, ninth and fifteenth character of your password?"

Used his on an alleged BT call from India: lots of fun! The woman calling could only splutter "But Ve are BT!!!!".

"Ah!", I said, " But how do I know this? There are presently many fraudsters operating scams on ID theft from India!"

I fear the dear lady suffered an attack of apoplexy!

Sadly, HMRC and Government having bought in to apparent wonders of an online presence and data processing, have failed to realise how insecure telecom and datacom networks have become. Furthermore, how one-sided their prescriptors are in everyday practice: after all, if I call HMRC they commence with a recorded announcement, informing me "Your call may be recored for staff training and quality assurance purposes". Yeah right!

Therefore since I am accountable, under Data protection Act ( Indeed, I'm the registered Data Controller), I demand EVERYTHING in writing in order I may enjoy evidential proof, in order to protected the multitudinous compliance issues and attendant risks, therefrom.

I do believe those in practice will soon be faced with the necessity to copy Big Biz and record each and every telephone conversation, just in case same is cited against one for litigation.

Nice World we've allowed to happen, where trust in professionals has been ameliorated to become non-existent..............

 

 

 

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By SimonLever
07th Oct 2013 12:23

Thank you for all of the above. Cannot wait to try some of them out.

My secretary is going to wonder why I am laughing so much over the next few months.

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By Mikeparr
07th Oct 2013 12:59

HMRC contact

HMRC rang the office on Friday evening at 6:23 pm and left a message

They required the owner, partner,director , company secretary or company accountant to call them back by 8:00 pm on 0845 3021424 and they left a PAYE reference number.

As this was the old HMRC telephone number I rang 0300 200 3200 who confirmed the number was genuine. I then rang  0845 3021424 to be told to ring another number 0300 200 3810.I quoted the PAYE reference number but as I was not authorised on this particular reference we were unable to speak to anyone about it. The PAYE number quoted is not in respect of any of my recognised clients. HMRC did not know why we had been contacted..Of course it took a while at get through on the phone each time I rang HMRC

Has anyone else experiencing this problem

 

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Replying to sarah douglas:
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By glenbogle
08th Oct 2013 10:46

yes

 It usually involves a non or ex or defunct client- sheer frustration ....

 

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Me!
By nigelburge
07th Oct 2013 13:12

@Mikeparr

If HMRC phones outside usual office hours (9 to 5), then it is an odds on chance that it is just some lad reading from a script and chasing one of your clients for outstanding tax due.

Why waste your time and money phoning back? If it is really important, they will either phone again or write. (But they never do!)

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By vinylnobbynobbs
07th Oct 2013 13:35

Working Together?

This has been raised at the Leeds Working Together meeting on more than one occasion and yet they persist. Usually they are chasing payment.

My favorite is to ask them that if I ring them tonight and say I am from their bank would they provide me with their bank details?  They never know how to respond and do not understand what you trying to get across to them.

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Stephen Quay
By squay
07th Oct 2013 14:38

You go first, no you go first

We've removed our's and client's telephone numbers off all tax returns for the past few years so any HMRC query into a tax return has to be made in writing. The number of calls we get have reduced and usually only come from HMRC debt chasers as mentioned above. We will only deal with queries in writing so we all know where we stand. Unfortunately phone numbers tend to get carried forward so if we get a call we ask for it in writing.

However, in the past I did answer the phone to them and told the caller you would have to prove who you are by answering our questions too. We did succeed by taking alternate turns for about two or three goes. We had to go first though so we made sure it was a fairly broad question we answered until we had something back from them in the next go. Happy days.

 

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By MarionMorrison
07th Oct 2013 14:58

Hours of Fun

My favourite is being asked the phone number of our practice.  "You mean the number that you've just dialled?"  Some of them recognise the crass stupidity in the question and the very fact that they've asked it means that they must be from the Revenue.  Some of them don't and sit their politely while I giggle and splutter.  They will sometimes give you an agent identifier number and sometimes they are happy if you ring them back (it's all within the phone contract so no skin etc). 

But I'm usually happy to talk to them and as others have said it's always "why haven't they paid their bill" and seem surprised by my "no idea, mate" approach.  We part and I email the client to let him know they're on his case.

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By miffy
07th Oct 2013 17:19

I am always polite

Whenever I ring the Revenue, they are always polite. So when they ring me, I make a point of being the same.

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Me!
By nigelburge
07th Oct 2013 17:27

@miffy

The Inspectors I speak to on the phone are indeed usually very pleasant and helpful and I reciprocate BUT.................

some of the Collection bods who phone up at peculiar hours and expect me to tell them when my clients are going to pay their tax are quite aggressive and can be just plain rude.

But then I suspect that these people are not actually employed by HMRC at all, but are just who the telephoning job has been subbed out to.

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