Belfast Telegraph

Taxman backs tweets query scheme

By Staff Reporter

HMRC has defended a pilot scheme inviting people struggling to reach the organisation on the phone to tweet their tax queries.

Director of communications Stephen Hardwick said the measure, derided as "laughable" by politicians, would be helpful, as queries rose to a peak through January as the self-assessment deadline approached.

Mr Hardwick said HMRC was working hard to improve its phone call responses after official statistics showed average call waiting times exceeded 10 minutes in September.

He compared the organisation with the Royal Mail, telling the BBC Today programme that the number of call handlers was being ramped up for the seasonal peak. Mr Hardwick said: "We are serious about the use of Twitter as a supplement to going online and using the telephone.

"What we don't want people to do is to give us any personal details. It's a very useful device to get guidance. The whole point of social media is you answer a question once and hundreds or thousands of people can see the answer."

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