HMRC quarterly performance update July to September 2017

HMRC has published performance data for July to September 2017. The spreadsheet version contains more detail than the online version, including the performance of different HMRC telephone lines.

Telephone service

The average time taken to answer a call increased to 5 minutes in Q2 (Q1 was 4 minutes 13 seconds, 2016/17 was 3 minutes 54 seconds). This is exactly on the target of 5 minutes and the year to date figure is 4 minutes 37 seconds, but it is concerning the average time seems to be starting to increase.

The percentage of calls that were answered dipped a further percentage point to 87.2% (2016/17 was 91.6%). The new measure of the percentage of calls that wait for longer than 10 minutes increased to 16.9% (Q1 was 14.2% of calls and the target is less than 15%). Again, some worrying signs.

The performance of the Agent Dedicated Line (ADL) continues to be considerably better than the general lines with average waiting time in July to August 2017 of 20 seconds; 96% of calls were answered in less than 2 minutes which is down from 100%.

The performance of the employers’ helpline is less good with average waiting time of 4 minutes 58 seconds in Q2 and 86.7% of calls being answered.

The performance data should be considered in the context of demand on the helplines. HMRC received 12.7m calls in July - September 2017 which is a drop of 0.8m compared with the equivalent quarter in 2016.

Post Handling

Post handling performance recovered during the period – in July to September 2017 81.2% of post was cleared within 15 working days against a target of 80% and Q1 performance of 66%.

iForms are given priority and 92% were cleared within seven days, below the target of 95%. HMRC is meeting its target of 80% satisfaction with digital services.

Processing of paper self assessment returns is not included within these statistics.

The Tax Faculty would like feedback from members on HMRC performance on our forum. There are two threads, one for telephone and one for post. Please do report you experiences on the forum.