Under pressure from their members our professional bodies have finally broke their silence on HMRC’s poor service.  All of the major accounting regulators have issued a full letter to HMRC calling the organization out over the absolute collapse in their service levels since 2020.


“We are under considerable pressure from our members to demonstrate what we are doing about poor HMRC performance levels and to raise the issues with government, parliamentary committees and the media.  The impact on individuals and businesses of these delays is considerable.”

Specifically the letter identifies the following consistent failures by HMRC

  • HMRC have consistently failed to process client refunds in a timely manner, particularly self assessment refunds.
  • HMRC have failed to handle prior year amendments for corporation tax and fail to deliver responses to corporation tax questions.
  • HMRC repeatedly fail to return promised call backs on technical questions
  • Helpline wait times have not been restored to pre-pandemic levels despite repeated promises from HMRC on this front.

These will ring familiar to many clients who have personally encountered these delays.  Within Proactive itself, we have seen HMRC take upwards of 9 months to respond to formal complaint letters marked as urgent, in one particularly relevant case we had to issue two additional complaints about HMRC’s failure to respond to the first formal complaint!


Normally, the accountancy bodies have an agreement not to publicly criticize HMRC’s poor service.   Unfortunately, things are currently so bad that the normal agreements between HMRC and our professional bodies are off.

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Letter Text

We all continue to be contacted by our members about poor HMRC service levels, and asking what we are doing about it. The issues being raised should not come as a surprise to you, having been shared with your staff by the professional bodies, through the online agent forum or via the complaints process. Issues seem to exist across a range HMRC services, and can change over time. While not a comprehensive list, the following issues get raised with us most frequently: self-assessment registrations and refunds, correspondence about VAT grouping and the option to tax, section 455 refunds, responses to technical queries, corporation tax post and returns not processed. Feedback also indicates that performance on the agent dedicated line appears to be erratic; there are sometimes very long waiting times, and calls can be cut off unexpectedly and promised call backs do not happen. Members are also concerned that helpline hours have not been restored to pre-pandemic levels