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How much priority on the HMRC Agent Priority Line?

Priority or not?

Didn't find your answer?

Having just spent the best part of an hour calling the HMRC Agent Priority Line to get clients removed from SA (one client on each of two separate days, unfortunately), I can't help reflecting on how it used to be that the AP Line used to be answered within a couple of minutes. Not now....

Does anyone know if the AP Line is quicker these days than the other line? My question is independent of Covid considerations.

 

Replies (28)

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By Paul Crowley
12th May 2021 15:32

No priority
Same queue as taxpayers

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By Wanderer
12th May 2021 15:36

AIUI the so called Agent Dedicated Line now just gets routed through to the general line.

I've given up ringing and just write letters now. Trouble is they don't deal with those either.

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By aj_cook
12th May 2021 17:35

I just queried why a letter sent in mid February hadn't been actioned and was told there is a minimum 75 days delay between receiving a letter and looking at it (let alone actioning it). Wow!

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Replying to aj_cook:
By williams lester accountants
13th May 2021 13:25

aj_cook wrote:

I just queried why a letter sent in mid February hadn't been actioned and was told there is a minimum 75 days delay between receiving a letter and looking at it (let alone actioning it). Wow!

We were quoted 75 WORKING days, so 15 weeks........

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Replying to williams lester accountants:
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By johnkcound
18th May 2021 09:39

We can beat that easily! We were quoted up to 526 working days to transfer a VAT reg from a sole trader to a successor company.

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Replying to Wanderer:
Tornado
By Tornado
12th May 2021 18:16

"I've given up ringing and just write letters now. Trouble is they don't deal with those either."

Same here, as I don't see why I should spend many hours of my time on a phone waiting to speak to an organisation that simply does not care about its 'customers'. I will use the phone lines again when HMRC provide a decent service but in the meantime, letters are a perfectly acceptable way to communicate with HMRC and if they still find this difficult to deal with then that is their problem, not mine. The FTT would probably agree with me if any case went that far.

MTD ..... a fantasy that HMRC will never be able to cope with.

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Replying to Wanderer:
By CazzyT
13th May 2021 10:48

But at least you have evidence of trying!

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Replying to CazzyT:
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By 4b4
18th May 2021 10:48

I have reverted to sending letters - signed for (old recorded delivery) now - not my or my clients' problem if HMRC are that rubbish at dealing with them - also much cheaper for the client in terms of time and postage!

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Replying to 4b4:
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By Arbitrary
18th May 2021 11:44

In my experience a large proportion of signed for stuff neither gets signed for, nor noted by Royal Mail as delivered. I have a case with a personal tax return that was sent, signed for, in time and, despite Royal Mail not having 'delivered' it, it was processed shortly thereafter. A 'late' penalty for this client was then issued and I have still not, of course, had a response to the 'signed for' appeal. Simple matters thus become absurdly drawn out. Aagh!

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By Matrix
12th May 2021 15:40

Their systems are down too. They couldn’t activate SA records due to technical issues and said to complete SA1s. I think we will just send unsolicited returns.

We asked for an update on a letter and it is due to be looked at in August.

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By bettybobbymeggie
12th May 2021 21:46
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Replying to bettybobbymeggie:
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By b.clarke
13th May 2021 17:02

bettybobbymeggie wrote:

Some interesting insights from ICAEW here:

https://www.icaew.com/insights/tax-news/2021/may-2021/icaew-urges-hmrc-t...

Yes, I've just seen that. Guess it answers my question. Sort of...

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Replying to bettybobbymeggie:
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By bernard michael
14th May 2021 11:30

bettybobbymeggie wrote:

Some interesting insights from ICAEW here:

https://www.icaew.com/insights/tax-news/2021/may-2021/icaew-urges-hmrc-t...

This bit seems to stretching the imagination somewhat, making us almost godlike
"Chartered accountants must understand their unique role in making a sustainable future happen, argues Peter Bakker, CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development."

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By bernard michael
13th May 2021 09:22

Just used the service after 10 mins wait on hold. Getting better

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By SteveHa
13th May 2021 13:24

How many times does this have to crop here before people realise that, right now, there is no ADL.

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By ELo
14th May 2021 20:22

Last week they picked up after 47 mins today after 6 mins, so i guess getting there.

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Replying to ELo:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
14th May 2021 20:38

Probably because lots of us have stopped calling and are writing letters instead! No doubt there's now a big pile of letters for the HMRC staff to rest their feet on while answering the phone.

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Replying to Red Leader:
Tornado
By Tornado
14th May 2021 22:38

You wrote us a letter three months ago ......... there is no record of it on the system. I will email the appropriate department to look for it and they will call you back within 72 hours.

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By Alison Pyatt
18th May 2021 09:38

I was told last week when calling the Agent dedicated line that they are hoping to have it sorted out sometime in June this year. The person I spoke to apologised for the delay in answering the call. I didn't even mention the time wait or ask about the usefulness of the Agent line, this information was offered without any prompt from me - so fingers crossed??

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By FCExtraordinaire
18th May 2021 09:41

I phoned last week to be told that they are only just dealing with letters from February 21. I had only written a letter because my previous phone calls were not actioned either despite being referred on in December 20. Given up ringing when they tell you the best thing to do is write in !

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By Michael Davies
18th May 2021 09:48

Like most I have given up phoning,and wrote a letter to HMRC Complaints,two months ago.No response as yet.I think someone on this Forum said they were told 21 weeks action delay on response to letters .My Daughter spent an hour on the phone the other week;while a client told me they had spent two hours waiting on the phone to try and get a Partnership return withdrawn.HMRC denied that I as his agent had advised them that the Partnership had ceased.The Institute for all their postering do not appear to be achieving very much by way of shaming HMRC into service improvements ?Surely they have a link to an MP,who can table a question in Parliament about this turn of events ?

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By Andrew Lee
18th May 2021 09:56

It struck me the other day how many different deadlines we have to work to (I quickly ran out of fingers and toes...) on pain of incurring fixed penalty and daily penalties. Just lately we've missed a few deadlines, which is very unlike us, but ATED and CGT Returns are particularly difficult because they rely on clients informing us they have done something that we will not otherwise be aware of until the accounts or tax return are prepared. However, HMRC have very few time limits to work to and, as a profession, we have had no choice but to accept the burden of ever increasing monitoring and responsibility. This will multiply ten-fold when MTD is fully implemented. I think we have sleepwalked into this situation with little or no affective complaint and I remain completely unconvinced of the benefit of MTD to one of my 85 year old widows who receives just over £10k of rental income and doesn't know one end of a computer from the other.

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By North East Accountant
18th May 2021 11:56

HMRC - "Do what I say not as I do".

HMRC - "you have only 30 days to submit a UK Land Property return and we want everyone to keep their books in real time but we'll take as long as we like to answer a simple letter..... if at all"

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By Software Seeker
18th May 2021 16:42

I gave up calling HMRC a while ago, reverting now to letters. What used to be a simple 5 minute call is now a typed letter, trip to the PO, etc., etc.

Recent example. Submitted 15 EIS3 certificates to HMRC by letter mid Jan. Two follow up reminders by letter (no answer on the 'phone, naturally). HMRC responded yesterday thanking us for our letter, "however, nothing was attached". (Clearly lost in the system). Brilliant piece of stalling on HMRC's part (after 4 months), but by not living in the real work they fail to realise the additional work now involved copying and re-sending. Well at least I don't have anything better to be getting on with.....sigh.....

This surely isn't 'progress'.

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Replying to Software Seeker:
Tornado
By Tornado
18th May 2021 17:49

At least we have MTD for Tax to look forward to. I am assuming that HMRC core work is going down the pan because all available staff are working on MTD for Tax and then one day they will surprise us all by rolling out a bright new shiny MTD system that will save HMRC and all of us. No need for letters, telephone calls, appeals, etc as the MTD software will do the lot whilst we enjoy ourselves on some sun soaked beach far away.

I cannot wait !

(Something says to me that instead of wasting billions and squillions of pounds on MTD, perhaps the best solution would have been to vastly improve the system we already have. It might seem a good idea to some to work towards letting computers talk to computers, but we are not computers and it will be necessary under any circumstances in the future for efficient human interaction to be part of our tax system).

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Replying to Tornado:
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By North East Accountant
19th May 2021 08:37

The trouble with HMRC improving the existing system is that it is hard tedious work and no where near as exciting as the shiny new thing that is MTD.

Far too many people in the public sector don't actually want to do any real work much preferring to send pointless emails, hold pointless meetings, and waste their time before knocking off at 2.30 pm on flexy time to go in the garden, walk the dog etc.

Answer a letter.... you've got to be kidding that actually means they have to do some work so much better to ignore them and just let them pile up.......

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Replying to North East Accountant:
Tornado
By Tornado
19th May 2021 08:56

North East Accountant wrote:

The trouble with HMRC improving the existing system is that it is hard tedious work and no where near as exciting as the shiny new thing that is MTD.

Far too many people in the public sector don't actually want to do any real work much preferring to send pointless emails, hold pointless meetings, and waste their time before knocking off at 2.30 pm on flexy time to go in the garden, walk the dog etc.

Answer a letter.... you've got to be kidding that actually means they have to do some work so much better to ignore them and just let them pile up.......

I can sympathise with your point of view but it does neatly highlight the problem. Trying to develop a system like MTD may well be to enable less human input but my point was that the existing system needs to be improved significantly to involve more human input and in particular, better management of human resources such as giving people more personal responsibility and recognition for what they do rather than just working in a twilight world of doing nothing particularly important all of the time, which is a common perception of how HMRC operates.

Instead of a central telephone helpline that just emails queries to HMRC departments that might be able to deal with your problem (and you rarely ever hear from anyway), perhaps back to the days when you were able to deal directly with an individual or small department that were able to deal with your query directly and often on the spot if it was fairly straightfoward.

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Morph
By kevinringer
21st May 2021 17:08

HMRC have stated on the Agent Forum that the priority status of the ADL was removed at the start of Covid and they have no plans to restore. It's the new (forever) normal. The only advantage of phoning the ADL is you bypass the voice unrecognition system that often transfers you to the wrong department.

We shouldn't be asking for the restoration of the priority status, we should be asking why we need to phone at all? Surely Making Tax Digital applies to HMRC as well as victims (sorry, I mean 'customers'). In which case HMRC should digitise its systems enabling us to make the necessary changes either through the agent portal, or direct from our software. For example, we want to add a partner to a partnership we would use HMRC's 'tell us once' service where we input the details into our tax software and that automatically updates HMRC's VAT database as well as SA, CIS, PAYE etc. Sorry, I'm fantasising.

Better still, if we agents are 'approved' by HMRC, we should be given access direct into HMRC's systems. HMRC staff can do that securely home working. We agents should have the same access. HMRC would save a fortune in staff time and because we take ownership of our client's problems we would make sure the problem was fixed. I'm really sorry, I'm daydreaming again. There's me thinking HMRC were the most digitally advanced tax authority in the world. Whatever was I thinking of?

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