HMRC pays £718,000 to thousands of taxpayers after phone line delays - can you claim compensation?

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HMRC paid £718,000 to taxpayers in 2022/23

Temi Laleye

By Temi Laleye

Published: 21/06/2024

- 19:06

HMRC paid £718,000 to taxpayers in 2022/23

On average, taxpayers who escalated their complaints about delays from HMRC were awarded £371.

Complaints to the tax office soared by two-thirds last year as customer service hit an all-time low.

The number of taxpayers complaining to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about long waiting times rose 65 per cent to nearly 34,000 in 2022-23.

This is an increase from 20,501 people in the previous year.

However of all the complaints logged, only 4,742 were paid compensation, according to official figures.

On average, taxpayers who complained about delays were awarded £136 by HMRC – while those who escalated their complaints got £371.

The data suggests HMRC paid £718,000 to taxpayers in 2022/23, up 94 per cent from the £371,000 in 2021/22.

Customers can claim redress from HMRC if hey feel they have suffered distress due to its poor service.

The tax office may also reimburse costs incurred by a taxpayer although receipts or invoices are required as evidence.

But Graham Boar, of accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young – which obtained the figures in a freedom of information request – said taxpayers often had to fight hard to get compensation.

He said: “Successfully getting meaningful compensation from HMRC for a delay is a very admin-intensive process.

“Many customers simply give up trying to secure the compensation they deserve.”

Nigel Huddleston, The UK’s financial secretary to the treasury announced £51million in new funding so HMRC staff can answer more calls and help customers over the phone.

The decision to provide additional support for its phone service was made after HMRC halted plans to close its Self Assessment phone lines over the summer and offer a digital service only, following feedback from some of its most crucial stakeholders.

The additional funding will help HMRC to achieve the performance standards its customers expect.


HMRC’s strategy is to move customers to online services with the aim of making it easier for customers and for it to manage their tax affairs, enabling HMRC to focus its advisers on helping those customers who need to speak to someone and operating more cost-efficiently.

Jim Harra, HMRC’s chief executive and first permanent secretary said: “We remain committed to expanding our online services, and encouraging customers to go online where they can, as we strive to deliver good services as cost-effectively as possible. But we recognise this must happen at a pace the public is comfortable with.

“This additional funding will enable us to improve our helpline service for those who need to speak to us – including the vulnerable and digitally excluded – making sure they get the support they require.”

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