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News - 5 February 2013

HMRC to switch to 03 numbers

HMRC’s chief executive, Lin Homer, has revealed that HMRC tax advice helplines will go from using costly 0845 prefixes to cheaper 03 ones by the end of the summer – the current 0845 number provided by Cable & Wireless who it is estimated that they received close to £1m profit from the calls.

Homer and HMRC director general of personal tax Ruth Owen appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in response to last year’s National Audit Office (NAO) report into HMRC customer services

The report found delays in answering calls cost around £136m in total in 2011/12 and that HMRC only answered 74% of calls. The government auditors also reported that they had been unable to ascertain how much Cable & Wireless collected from people waiting on 0845 helplines - as HMRC was not privy to that information.
The committee chair Margaret Hodge, said accountants are the most “informed and intelligent customers” of the Revenue helplines and so should be listened to when 29% of them thought that HMRC were not doing a good job.

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