How is HMRC performing in 2018? Telephone, post and refunds – give us your feedback

ICAEW continues to monitor HMRC’s performance. Vital to this work is specific, current feedback from members. 

The three areas we monitor are telephone helplines, the handling of post (including the processing of paper forms) and the issuing of repayments. 

We list below the particular issues on which we’d value feedback. Post a comment on this forum or contact 


To enable us to provide HMRC with up to date evidence of the problems that HMRC helpline performance cause our members, please post comments below to tell us about your experiences, indicating: 

  • the name of the helpline
  • the telephone number
  • how long it took for your call to be answered. 

and if the concern is about quality: 

  • an outline of the problem you were calling about
  • whether you were happy with how the call was handled
  • whether the issue was resolved satisfactorily. 


To enable us to provide HMRC with up to date evidence on its performance in handling post please post comments below to tell us about your experiences, indicating if possible: 

  • the date of the letter or form
  • the type of tax (SA, PAYE, CT, CIS, VAT, etc.)
  • the HMRC address used
  • the date of HMRC’s reply or the processing date
  • whether HMRC’s reply dealt with the issue fully. 


Please comment below on your experience of refunds, telling us: 

  • what the overpayment relates to – self assessment, individual PAYE, corporation tax, Employers’ PAYE etc
  • how long you have you been waiting or, if the repayment has now been received, how long it took to be processed
  • if the repayment was withheld by HMRC, the reason for this, if known
  • any general comments on the repayment process in relation to any specific tax (or taxes).


  • I requested copy of a client's NI record by letter 8th February 2018 (because online request system had failed to identify me and/or client, although there's full authorisation in place). Finally received a response 16 weeks later.

    However, the letter is incorrect for my client who was born November 1969 stating 'as you reach State Pension age before 6 April 2016 you need 30 qualifying years .....'. The client was 46 on 6/4/2016 and needs 35 qualifying years. If HMRC are misleading other members of the public into thinking that they only need 30 qualifying years, there will be many who get a lower pension as a result, or else taxpayer resources will be wasted in resolving numerous appeals by those who don't assume that HMRC must be correct.

    Have tried phoning HMRC but, after a few minutes interacting with the Intelligent Telephony system it informs me they are busy and to check the website for an answer - as if that'll help. So about to write to HMRC again.

    But if their computer is systematically churning out garbage to the general public rather than this being a freak, isolated case, HMRC need to revisit their correspondence with everyone to whom they have provided incorrect advice.

    • the date of the letter or form - my original letter was dated 29/05/18
    • the type of tax (SA, PAYE, CT, CIS, VAT, etc.) - PAYE (repayment claim)
    • the HMRC address used - National Insurance Contributions and Employers office, HMRC, BX9 1BX
    • the date of HMRC’s reply or the processing date - HMRC letter dated 15/08/08 (received 18/08/18)
    • whether HMRC’s reply dealt with the issue fully.  - no!

    I'm making a repayment claim of PAYE as client is winding up the company so has no future payroll liabilities to offset the credit against. 

    Letter acknowledges claim and advises that security checks are required before it can be authorised. Then they'll confirm the amount and issue a cheque. 

  • I've just had cause to phone the ADL for Debt Management (0300 200 3887)

    It took 2mins 15s to into a hold pattern (it was all automated messages/menus up to that point). 

    It took 12mins 40s (inc the 2mins 15s) to speak to an actual person. 

    They advised me to contact the County Courts Team and said they would connect me directly. 

    The call got directed to another automated message with a new phone number (didn't say what team it was) and the call was disconnected. 

    I got answered fairly quickly by County Courts Team (about a minute) and she advised that my request had already been actioned by debt management!

  • Client company overpaid PAYE in early 2018 on settling final payment. Company no longer trades and was about to apply for removal and we 'noticed' credit balance.  PAYE webchat (Aug 18) confirmed refund due but confirmed it would not get any attention until the first week of December 2018 at the earliest.

  • I have had 2 clients that out of the blue have had PAYE demands from 2013/14. I have not put through EYU for these years in either case. With regard to the 1st one I called the employers helpline on 04.12.18 and waited about 20 minutes to be answered. The helpline could tell me nothing other than the date the EYU was put through and was not interested in the fact that neither me or the client made any changes. They said I needed to speak to online services and that I wouldn't have to wait again. When I called online services I waited another 15 minutes to be answered and they basically said it wasn't their problem. I have written to HMRC and am waiting for a response.#

    Then this morning I had another client with the same issue and I imagine I will go through the whole debacle again!