HMRC’s published performance statistics for July to September 2016 show that the Q1 improvement has been sustained.
HMRC published its quarterly performance statistics for Q2 2016/17 on 22 December 2016 and the latest statistics for July to September 2016 show that the improvements in Q4 of 2015/16 and Q1 2016/17 have continued. HMRC met it targets for both phone and post handling in Q2 2016/17.
In April to September 2016, HMRC answered 90% of calls, an increase from 87% in Q4 2015/16 (and 72% for the whole of 2015/16).
The average tax year to date waiting time was just over 4 minutes 34 seconds; an improvement on 5 minutes 3 seconds for Q1.
HMRC’s target continues to be to answer 85% of calls and for average waiting time to be under 6 minutes.
Agent Dedicated Line
Members had reported an issue with the agent dedicated line in August/September 2016. This is supported by HMRC’s statistics as the average waiting time on this line increased to 1 minute 10 seconds in September (from a previous average of less than 10 seconds). We understand that this was a temporary issue and the previous level of performance has been restored.
The other line about which members have raised concerns is the helpline for employers. The report shows that performance on this line has improved: waiting time in September was 3 minutes 9 seconds, down from 7 minutes at the start of the tax year and 92% of calls were answered, up from 78%. HMRC has advised us that additional staff have been allocated to this line, scheduling has been improved and additional training provided and that these improvements should be fully in place for the peak period for this line.
HMRC measures its performance for clearing post with two separate targets. The first target is to clear 80% within 15 working days from receipt, the second is to clear 95% within 40 working days.
In April to September 2016, HMRC met this target – 81% of post was cleared within 15 working days and 97% of post was cleared within 40 working days. This compares with 52% answered within 15 working days and 87% within 40 working days in 2015/16.
These improvements are welcome; we hope that they will continue and that the quality of advice being given will also get attention. Please provide details of your experiences of HMRC customer service on our new tax forum post for 2017 HMRC customer service issues.