HMRC helplines mired by tax code enquiries

The number of people ringing HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about incorrect PAYE tax codings has meant that many callers are having to wait on hold for considerable periods.

Worries emerged earlier in the year that a proportion of the 25 million tax coding notices that have been sent out may have been wrong.

A number of people with one job have received two (or more) tax coding notices with different codes. This is because HMRC's new system, which combines information on NICs and PAYE details for the first time, has been failing to distinguish between current and previous jobs in all cases.

Without complete information on those taxpayers who have moved from one job to another recently, the new database has been treating them as if they are in more than one job.

HMRC has said that it is in the process of reviewing individual cases to correct as many discrepancies as quickly as possible.

HMRC went on to add that, if an employee contacts an employer because they think their tax code may be wrong, then the employer should get them to call HMRC on the number printed on the coding notice or on 0845 3000 627.

An HMRC spokesman said: "We are experiencing a higher level of demand than usual because of the well-publicised issues around PAYE notices of coding. This means customers are finding it more difficult to get through.

"It is standard practice within our contact centres to play 'busy' messages when the helpline is full. This ensures customers on hold do not wait in a queue for an unreasonable length of time. As a rule, we cap queue lengths at eight minutes."