Sunday, 23 January 2011

You CAN talk to real people at HMRC

A very large collections call centre in Lakela...Image via WikipediaJanuary is not my favourite month from the perspective of Self Assessment Tax Returns, though fortunately I avoid maximum stress by not taking on every last-minute prospect, giving my procrastinator clients an early “last warning” and not doing hundreds of tax returns anyway.

The biggest problem in January concerning Self Assessment is in speaking to HMRC employees in call centres who know only what is on their screens, are unable to make decisions on specific requests, don't necessarily have the information we want or are not authorised to give it.

Contrast this. I had occasion to call a Corporation Tax Office this week. The officer was helpful, we did not have a pointless barrage of security questions, she was exceedingly helpful and she changed the tax return periods while we spoke just as I asked. She was maybe a little brusque with a rougher telephone manner than one would get from the call centres, but she did the job and left me feeling happy. Above all, she did not waste my time but helped me solve a problem.

It may sound trivial but it proves to me again that organisations get better results and are more efficient if they empower their employees. I wish this ethos were prevalent throughout the leviathan that is HMRC.

What is your experience?
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