As of Monday (September 17th 2012), HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has changed the way corporation tax payers contact them by phone to bring them into line with other HMRC customers.
Most calls about corporation tax will now be routed to one of two contact centres based in Cardiff and Glasgow through an 0845 number, unless calling from abroad. This will mean that the existing list of numbers belonging to work-located company tax districts will disappear.
However, customers should note that if their enquiry is already being dealt with by a specialist team, such as the large business unit, the number to call will not change.
The department says that it has made this move to improve the efficiency of its service but it hasn’t had a great track record with answering phone calls, with only 48 percent of calls actually getting through last year and an average call waiting time of six minutes, with most people hanging up before reaching an adviser.
There have still been a barrage of complaints this year, despite a public apology by the head of HMRC for the communication failures.
To add to their woes, the National Audit Office is currently investigating the department to see how they are meeting customers’ needs, so it will be interesting to see whether this move actually does prove to be beneficial to businesses or not.
What is particularly worrying is that large businesses will be able to sidestep the call centres, as mentioned above, but small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are by far in the majority, will not, which could lead to a continuation of the communication failure.
Rob Chedzoy specialises within providing tax planning advice, support and guidance to owner-managed businesses.