HM Revenue & Customs has topped a list of the most irritating UK companies to call.. Unveiling the UK’s first ‘Phone Rage Index,’ a campaign group said HMRC ranked first for attracting the most votes (38,000 in a month), mainly for having more than 400 menu options across just six services.

The rankings are drawn up from across a range of many businesses where a comparison is made of ‘please press’ option menus, the time taken to reach the actual service wanted and customer feedback.

According to website HMRC’s self-service has limited guidance and no guarantee of a result.  The compilers of the ‘Stall’ Centre Index said “HMRC takes the crown, currently ranked ‘most frustrating’ of the companies and organisations [scrutinised].”  Asked by ContractorUK about its unenviable win, the Revenue said that given its helplines receive 60million calls a year on a wide range of issues, “there will always be a number of different options for callers.”

A spokeswoman for HMRC added: “We are currently looking at our telephony system and will be introducing improvements to our call system later this year to help callers get their enquiries dealt with as quickly as possible.”

In addition, the tax authority pledged to transfer its main helplines to phone numbers beginning 03 by the end of the summer, to allow taxpayers to call in at the lowest cost possible.  “For most customers a phone number beginning 03 is cheaper to call than a 0845 number”, the spokeswoman explained. “Our Tax Credit helpline moved in December 2011 and the helplines for income tax, national insurance and VAT changed [to 03] earlier this year.”

As tax agents we are in a better position as we have a dedicated agent line, however, we can only ring on this number for clients we have agent authorisation for.