HMRC revealed its plans to engage 1,630 extra temporary workers every month until September, as it looks to improve declining service levels – a move which flexible working expert, Qdos, has said “smacks of irony”.
In its latest set of accounts (page 299), HMRC stated that it will engage 1,630 additional temporary staff monthly, between April and September. This is to improve customer service levels which have seen average call waiting times more than treble since 2018/19.
Typically, taxpayers spent 16 minutes 34 seconds to speak to an advisor in 2022/23, with waiting times exceeding 20 minutes on average in the last quarter of the financial year. This is compared to 5 minutes 14 seconds in 2018/19.
HMRC’s plans were announced in the same report which showed that the tax office did not engage any contractors outside the scope of the IR35 legislation in 2022/23.
Seb Maley, CEO of Qdos – an IR35 specialist and insurance provider for flexible workers said, “The fact that by September HMRC is bringing in thousands of temps highlights the vital role that flexible workers play in challenging times. But its plan to engage 1,630 more flexible workers every month when HMRC won’t engage contractors outside IR35 smacks of irony.
“On one hand, HMRC desperately needs temporary workers to improve declining service levels. On the other, it seems to be giving them no choice but to work on the payroll – regardless of their true employment status.
“Let’s not forget that this is the same body that created, enforces and insisted on reforming the IR35 legislation. Rather than demonstrating to other organisations how different types of flexible workers can be engaged, HMRC is a shining example of how not to go about it.”