HMRC is to formally remove the 10-minute average waiting time standard on the agent dedicated line (ADL). Calls to the ADL on individual PAYE matters may be routed to a separate team.

HMRC has announced that from 2 October 2023, it will no longer operate to a 10-minute service level on the ADL. ICAEW members are already experiencing waiting times much longer than this  but can expect to wait even longer.

From 2 October 2023, HMRC will be introducing information on call waiting times onto the ADL. These will be based on the previous day rather than being current.

Calls to the ADL with an individual PAYE query may be re-routed to a separate team. These advisers will only deal with individual PAYE queries. Agents may be asked to call back on the ADL if they have queries on other subjects, such as self assessment.

This further deterioration in the service provided by HMRC is of serious concern. Professional bodies and other stakeholders were presented with some possible alternatives, but in our view, these were even less attractive.

HMRC is exploring the possibility of a webchat service on the ADL, but this is still at an early stage. HMRC is seeking to improve tools such as: 

  • income record viewer;
  • agent dashboard; and
  • where’s my reply. 

ICAEW continues to emphasise the issues with HMRC’s digital services – especially for agents. HMRC has told stakeholders that it receives calls about matters that could be resolved using a digital service. However, more data is needed as this is not the experience of ICAEW members. 

ICAEW is also highlighting the significant cost of poor HMRC service performance to agents, taxpayers, and the economy and the risk of poorer compliance. 

It is particularly disappointing that HMRC’s email to agents refers to, “how to improve our current performance and service provided on the ADL”. The changes are driven by HMRC seeking to manage performance within its available resources rather than improvement. 

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