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HMRC 'unable to cope' with customer issues despite spending £880m on phone lines

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Anyone who has tried to get through to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will know that it is often a long and arduous experience, but a report today (May 15) has revealed that people filing tax returns, checking National Insurance records, or just making a child benefit query, spent seven million hours on hold.

This is the equivalent of 798 years of listening to hold music, or more likely, eight centuries of mind-numbing frustration just for doing the right thing and making sure your taxes are in order.

The report, published by the National Audit Office (NAO), said "HMRC must provide a timely and effective service for customers needing help with their tax or benefits, even as it attempts to reduce costs." Overall, HMRC call handlers spent 4.7 million hours answering queries and questions in the past year - meaning that customers spent 50 per cent longer waiting to speak to someone, than they spent getting their question answered.

But many do not know that they might not even need to call HMRC if they have a query. READ MORE: MPs warn DWP faces 'Post Office Horizon-style scandal' over bank monitoring plan The vast majority of calls to HMRC can be answered using the HMRC app, which contains your National Insurance record, how much tax you have paid, your state pension forecast, as well as a feature that allows you to file any self-assessment tax forms.

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