HMRC is a big government department that has lots of ways to contact them – and it can still be a challenge to speak to someone! In fact, there have even been reports in the news about how bad contact times on the phone have been, although improvements have been made. So is there a best time to contact HMRC? And what are the contact options?
Best way to contact HMRC
One of the big problems with HMRC is that it is so huge. One of the best tips for contacting them is to find the best way and the specific information for the department that you need. Each day might be different but there are some general ideas about when is best. There are also more contact options than most of us realise.
Also, remember the time of year. For example, if you don’t need to call them around the end of the financial year or around the end of January, then don’t. These are the busiest times when they are handling self-assessment, people paying annual tax and all of the queries.
Here are some of the best ways to get in touch with HMRC.
On the phone
If you want to talk to someone in person, then the phone remains your best option. The best way to do this is to find the phone number for the department you need to help cut down the number of people you are in a queue with. Most departments are open from 8am until 8pm weekdays and from 8am until 4pm on Saturdays.
When you call, note down the time and date of the call as well as the name of the person you are talking to. Keep notes of anything agreed or discussed then you remember what the call was about and what was said.
On the website
If you don’t have time to sit on the phone to get through, then the website is a good place to go. HMRC has a comprehensive website with many online forms that means you can often find the information you need without speaking to anyone. There are specialist contact forms as well for things like notifying your tax code is wrong or changes to your details.
HMRC also operates a live chat facility. This is a bit like talking to someone but through the internet. You start with a virtual assistant called Ruth who can answer many basic questions such as about tax credits, self-assessment, overpaid tax, and more. You can also go through to a member of the team if the query is beyond the AI’s ability to help.
On social media
HMRC also operate social media platforms which are a great way to find out lots of general information. You can also use them to get in touch and to get some information and advice such as new policies or deadlines. Always be a little careful with what you put on social media as not all contact options are secure so don’t put things like your bank account details or other personal information.
Twitter is a great option for getting in touch with them and you can use a number of accounts including @HMRCcustomers. This is a dedicated account for product or service queries and someone mans it from 8am until 8pm weekdays and from 8am until 4pm Saturdays. @HMRCBusiness has information about tax and running a business and is available from 9am until 5pm weekdays.
Is there is a best time to call?
If you do want to stick with the phone as the way to get in touch with HMRC, then there are some recommendations on when the best time to call is. Of course, there are lots of things that can influence this, and it is just research but if you want to try these times, you might get through a bit quicker. They are:
- Mornings between 8:30 am and 9:30am (while others are commuting to work)
- Lunchtime between 12pm and 12:30pm
When people called at these times, the average wait was around 4.5 minutes. There are also times to avoid, particularly between 4:30pm and 5pm when the wait time on the phone extended to around 12 minutes. So where possible call earliest in the day to get through quicker.