A reader writes:
Your website has been of great help in actually getting an email to a real person at HMRC.
I think the most useful one for you to add to the top of your site right now might be Ruth Owen. She is The Director General Customer Services for the HMRC and her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I sent her an email at 16.11 on Sunday 22nd January and received a written reply 12 minutes later confirming that she would be forwarding my email to the correct department.
I don’t know about you, but I call that a bloody result. Especially considering she now knows if this is not sorted she will be receiving more emails from me.
More on HMRC email addresses here.
Update from 3 February (a few days later).
Since my email to you things have moved at quite a pace.
So we emailed Ruth on the Sunday and got a reply quickly. The next day we got another email from David in Customer Services asking that we call him.
Due to one thing and another we did not call him. Tuesday morning, the phone rings and it is David from HMRC. We did not give them any contact phone numbers. He then calls the wife back Tuesday afternoon and promises to be back in touch later in the week.
Thursday at 6.10pm and the phone rings, it is David from HMRC again, as promised, ringing to confirm that the wife no longer owes them £1K but they have zeroed the debt.
Confirmation was received in writing the following Monday.
So, 9 days from initial email to resolution.
This method works well when HMRC have made a clear and simple mistakes and have then dug their collective heels in – for example saying the tax payer is self employed when they are not – it just takes somebody in authority to pick up the phone and say, “WTF I want this sorted ASAP” and you can get progress very quickly.