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HMRC narrowly misses call and post handling targets

20th Nov 2014
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HMRC has narrowly missed its call and post handling targets, according to its corporate report on performance for April to September 2014. 

During that time the tax department increased the overall number of calls handled to 74.5%, up almost 2% on the same point last year. 

But this falls just short of its 80% target. 

HMRC says it has received mostly positive feedback from customers regarding the voice recognition service it introduced this year. However, some AccountingWEB members were not so satisfied with the system. 

In addition, it said that most callers are now using its cheaper 03 prefix phone numbers. All 0845 numbers will be phased out by December. 

Despite the fall in its overall call handling target, the Revenue made improvements in handling tax credits and child benefit calls. Last year, it handled just 16% of calls, but the figure has risen to 89% in 2014. HMRC also said it cleared UK tax credits and child benefit claims and changes of circumstances in an average of 15 days, under its target of 22.

The department trained 2,000 extra staff to help answer phones. But while this has helped them answer more tax credits calls, post handling has suffered.

HMRC cleared 69% of post within 15 working days, down from 77.3% last year. This also falls short of its 80% post handling target. 

But it added that the volume of post received continues to drop as it improves its call handling and seeks to resolve queries 'once and done'. It is introducing digital post scanning to improve its performance.

The report added that the Revenue brought in £243.6m in tax this year, £7bn up on 2013. It also secured £8.8bn in additional revenue via its compliance activity and says it is on track to hit its £24.5bn target by year-end.

By March 2015, the Revenue is set to answer 90% of telephone calls made and deal with 80% of letters within 15 working days.


Replies (7)

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By Jekyll and Hyde
20th Nov 2014 19:14

Very alarming
more than a quarter of phone calls go unanswered and almost a third of post not answered with a 3 week scale.

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By justsotax
21st Nov 2014 13:50

'narrowly missed'...6.5%

I wonder if you could get away with such a description when missing the pass mark on your exams?

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By stepurhan
21st Nov 2014 15:18

Poor targets

Given this is HMRC we are talking about, all those missed calls and late letters are more than likely financially affecting the person the other end. With that in mind, I would say that the targets set were unacceptably low in the first place. For them not to even achieve those targets (narrowly or otherwise) is a scandal.

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By jamiea4f
24th Nov 2014 11:14

HMRC targets...

Hmm.  Who sets these targets, clearly not the taxpayer, i.e the people to whom they would apply the most.  I rang recently about an enquiry and was told their post was on a 6 week lead time, i.e that's how long I should expect to wait for an answer.  Maybe I'll set a target of paying 80% of my tax on time, and perhaps hit 75% of it...

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By stephen_walton
24th Nov 2014 11:38

public sector workers not efficient - what a surprise

No doubt they will be on strike again soon

I once asked why they don't do overtime to clear the backlog and the response was why should we ? unbelievable !!!



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By coolmanwithbeard
24th Nov 2014 14:38

Narrowly missed?

Well unless things have changed from when I worked there narrowly missed probably means missed by a mile as local managers massage figures ...

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By moneymanager
25th Nov 2014 08:18

HMRC reply

I recently lodged a complaint to HMRC in a role as a company director. I received a fulsome reply, FOUR full pages of boiler plate telling me what a wonderful job they were doing including the introduction of that truly useless voice response system. The emperor has no clothes. As HMRC insist that we are all customers we should have the right to take our business elsewhere.

Why not start constructing 'HMRC MK2' from the ground up and slowly migrate services and taxpayers accros to it when it's proven to be reliable and robust.

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