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HMRC outage leaves agents and taxpayers in the dark


HMRC phone lines and some online services have been shut down due to technical issues, leaving agents and taxpayers unable to contact the tax department. 

2nd Dec 2022
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UPDATE 5 December: HMRC has confirmed that all the phonelines that were closed on Friday were reopened on Monday morning. 

An HMRC spokesperson said: "Our helplines are all open and taking calls. Our online services are also working well and we encourage people to use them. We thank people for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused by the technical problems over recent days.”


The first signs of technical issues emerged yesterday (1 December), when AccountingWEB readers reported on Any Answers difficulty in getting through to HMRC on the phone lines. 

AccountingWEB regular SteveHa said he tried calling the agent dedicated line at 8am yesterday morning and was confronted with the recorded message: "We're very busy right now, and it may take us longer.”

While other AccountingWEB members compared notes of their inability to get through to HMRC, a reader called Groundhopper managed to speak to the helpline and discovered the whole HMRC system is down and “they don’t know when it will be working.”

AccountingWEB reader Duggimon also noted on the same discussion thread, “The gateway appears to be down at the moment so I assume they're all running round with their hair on fire.”

HMRC confirmed on social media yesterday morning that “Due to technical issues we have taken the decision to shut a number of our phone lines and online services. We are sorry for any inconvenience and are working urgently to resolve this issue.”


However, the phone lines and some online services still remained unavailable on Friday morning. 

HMRC updated the situation at 9am this morning, explaining that all phone lines, apart from the national clearance hub helpline, were still down and that it was “working urgently to resolve this issue”. 

Urgent answers are needed

Now the customer service outage has continued into another day, the chair of the Treasury Committee has called for urgent answers from HMRC. 

“These unexpected outages should be a thing of the past. That’s why I’ve today written to the head of HMRC to demand urgent answers on the issues facing customers over the past 24 hours,” said the chair of the treasury select committee Harriett Baldwin MP.

She also called on the first permanent secretary Jim Harra to describe the nature of the issue, the telephone lines and other services affected, the length of time it persisted, and the number of customers they would expect to have been affected. 

Baldwin also asked Harra to outline the temporary procedures implemented to prevent a complete loss of service, or deal with pressing issues from taxpayers and what procedures HMRC will implement to prevent a similar loss of service in the future. 

Meanwhile, the messages from tax agents trying to contact HMRC haven’t slowed down on Any Answers. GHarr497688, for example, attempted to renew their AML this morning but was got the "sorry service is currently unavailable" message.  

As for when the service issues will be resolved, AccountingWEB member Ireallyshouldknowthisbut isn’t expecting to speak to HMRC again before the weekend. “Given it was mainly off yesterday, I wouldn't plan on speaking to them until Monday," he said.

An HMRC spokesperson told AccountingWEB: “We are working urgently to resolve an issue which has meant we’ve had to temporarily close most of our phone lines. We apologise to those affected and will reopen them as soon as possible.

“We encourage people to use our online services, which are open.”


Replies (6)

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By User deleted
02nd Dec 2022 14:39

Shame they don't get current systems working well before thinking of commencing on other fanciful ones.

Thanks (7)
By D V Fields
02nd Dec 2022 18:46

At least it saves a two hour wait followed by an unanswered question.

“We encourage people to use our online services, which are open.”
Alas, it is often the reason for having to ring! Their website often resembles a merry-go-round.

Thanks (7)
By monksview
05th Dec 2022 10:45

And what do we find? Its still out of action this morning. I've got a couple of urgent issues that need sorting, God only knows when they'll be up and running again. Their staff must be having a lovely old time, sat there twiddling their thumbs...

Thanks (0)
By Catherine Newman
05th Dec 2022 12:18

May be they will realise how useless their online services are.

Thanks (0)
05th Dec 2022 15:12

Tried calling on Friday and also using the online chat. Was told I was 2nd in the queue only to be cut off. Having to waste my time querying late VAT payment notices which have been paid on time. The normal response being to ignore as the letter was sent out automatically and payment hasn't been applied. Nightmare.

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By Philysis
05th Dec 2022 20:17

Hmrc are a bit like dads army with Jim harra as capt , I do look that wonderful program up and think of Jim and pike don’t panic don’t panic ! Think pike would have delivered a better service than Jim can. We need no worry Jim was apparently first class leader in the U.K. covid jab delivery programme. Shame he never learned those quick execution lessons could apply to his current brief and yet everyday he continues to fail every U.K. tax payer.

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