HMRC restores priority helpline for agentsby
HMRC has announced a trial relaunch of the agent dedicated line (ADL), and has committed to slashing wait times to 10 minutes. But certain services will only be available through HMRC’s digital services.
Agents will no longer have to endure 40-plus minute wait times getting through to HMRC following the news today that the tax authority has relaunched the priority line for agents.
Priority line returns on 14 June
HMRC confirmed that the agent line will return on 14 June on a trial basis. The line will operate from Monday to Friday between 8am to 6pm, with agents advised to call 03000 200 3311.
Following months of poor service complaints, HMRC has set itself the target of answering calls within 10 minutes. It will report to the professional bodies how it performs against that goal. However, HMRC has asked agents to spread calls throughout the day, and not just jam the phone lines as soon as the clock strikes 8am.
HMRC has also encouraged agents to make use of its digital services, and to get information from clients where possible such as pay and tax details and employment histories. This would ensure the lines are clear for priority access and to maintain the service.
The impact of no priority line
The withdrawal of a dedicated line for agents caused much consternation over the last year, as agents have seen wait times soar since the priority line was merged with the standard helpline at the start of pandemic. The prolonged wait times were made worse due to additional client demands agents faced during the lockdown restrictions.
In particular, AccountingWEB readers complained during January’s self assessment busy season of lengthy wait times, with many waiting upwards of 45 minutes. AccountingWEB reader K81, for example, reported in March that they eventually got through to a helpline worker who said, "I don't deal with self-assessment, sorry" and then they hung up.
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