What is the Best Time to Call HMRC

What is the Best Time to Call HMRC?

Trying to actually speak to someone at HMRC can be frustrating given how busy their phonelines always seem to be, but there is a best time to call. HMRC almost always have long wait times and there are certain times of the day and week when it is easier to get through to HMRC quickly.

If you want the quick answer, and who can blame you, here’s the least busiest time for HMRC and when you should start dialling… 

According to research by tax investigation insurers PfP, the best time to call HMRC is in the morning between 8.30 am and 9.30 am and early lunchtime between noon and 12.30 pm. The average call waiting time for HMRC during this period was four and a half minutes, which is much better than the usual wait. 

If that’s the best time to call HMRC, you might also wonder when the worst time to call them is. Research and user feedback suggests that Sunday is often the worst time to get through to HMRC quickly. We also found out Tuesday is a very popular day for accountants to call HMRC, so that might be worth avoiding too.

As you can imagine, the average call waiting time for HMRC will vary depending on the time of year and the type of query. For example, in the busy weeks leading up to tax deadlines you are likely to experience a longer wait time than usual. If you need to speak to HMRC urgently, try calling during the quieter times we explained above.

How to get through to HMRC quickly

To maximise your chances of getting through to HMRC quickly and actually being able to speak to a real person, plan your call with these tips on when the best time is. 

Best time of day to call HMRC

Another study we read believe it is easier and quicker to talk to an HMRC agent towards the end of the week, particularly on a Thursday morning as soon as the phone lines open at 8 am, when the average wait time is around four minutes. This compares with over 22 minutes at 4 pm on a Monday. Some callers were even having to wait for over an hour some afternoons.

Callers who contact HMRC during these times are likely to experience shorter wait times than those who call during peak hours.

Best day of the week to call HMRC

The busiest day of the week to call HMRC is Monday, so we recommend that you avoid calling at the start of the week. It’s fair to assume that many people will have been worrying about tax questions over a weekend, so it’s only natural that Monday mornings will be busy and HMRC call handlers will be taking so long to answer.

Best time of year to call HMRC

The time of year can also impact the amount of time a caller spends waiting to speak to an agent at HMRC. The beginning of the year, specifically January, is typically a busy time for HMRC phone lines due to the self-assessment tax deadline. 

As such, callers may experience longer wait times during this period so if you can, call outside of periods when people might have self-assessment queries. 

What time do HMRC phone lines open?

HMRC phone line opening hours vary depending on what subject you need to talk to them about. If you want to speak to an HMRC agent about tax and National Insurance, the phone lines are open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm. 

For those who need to contact HMRC for other reasons, such as tax credits and Self-Assessment, the opening hours might be different. 

HMRC does offer an automated phone service that you can access 24/7. This service allows you to check your tax code, find out when your next payment is due, and more. You can access this service by calling HMRC’s general enquiries line.

Here is a list of useful numbers:

  • Self-Assessment helpline: 0300 200 3310
  • Child Benefits helpline: 0300 200 3100
  • Employer helpline: 0300 200 3200
  • Income Tax helpline: 0300 200 3300
  • National Insurance helpline: 0300 200 3500
  • HMRC online services helpdesk: 0300 200 3600
  • Online debit and credit card payment support: 0300 200 3601
  • VAT general enquiries: 0300 200 3700
  • Tax Credits helpline: 0345 300 3900

Why is HMRC taking so long to answer?

In 2022, The Times reported how HMRC was underfunded and suffering with the lasting impacts of Covid-19. This is believed to have had a knock-on effect to current call waiting times, with a huge backlog of workas well as outdated technology that wasn’t designed for remote work.

Whilst we don’t believe this is the only reason why HMRC takes so long to answer, it certainly contributes to it. There appears to be a need for more staff to be recruited, which shows no sign of yet being resolved.  

What is the average call waiting time for HMRC?

According to the website of the tax application Untied, the average call waiting time for HMRC in the lead-up to the self-assessment deadline was 12.5 minutes in 2022. This was an increase on the 2021 call waiting time which averaged at 11 minutes.  

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