The Revenue Commissioners should expand their current helpline hours to assist taxpayers with their queries, according to a Fine Gael Senator.
Senator Maria Byrne, Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on finance, said that Revenue’s current helpline hours from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm are unsuitable for those working and for vulnerable customers who may struggle to make their queries online.
Senator Byrne said: “The helpline is currently open in the morning only, and it’s very challenging to get through to an operator due to the high volumes of calls within such a short timeframe.
“With the tax deadline approaching, this is becoming a bigger issue for people who urgently need to contact Revenue and are under increased pressure to get their questions answered before that deadline.
“Taxpayers have been directed to use the Revenue Online Service (ROS) facility, but if a query is of a technical nature, it can be difficult to get the issue resolved efficiently without talking directly to someone.
“With the recent rise in online scams, older people also may be fearful of dealing with their taxation issues online. By calling someone about their issues, they may be more comfortable resolving the problem.
“Some people have spent hours trying to get through to speak to a person about their concerns. Often, when they do use the online ROS service, it has taken days to get a sufficient answer.
“I am aware that in-person appointment services are being provided at some of their offices and appointments can be booked by calling the appointment helpline on 01 738 3660. However, this helpline is only open until 1:30 pm, so taxpayers must still call within the busy period to get their query dealt with in-person.
“Other public services and private businesses have returned to face-to-face engagement with customers since the lifting of Covid 19 restrictions, Revenue needs to do the same.
“The helpline hours are both inconvenient and time-consuming for customers who have taxation queries or who want to claim tax relief on a range of expenses. The current system just doesn’t work for everyone.
“I’m calling on the Revenue to expand their helpline hours into the afternoon for those who have additional needs, cannot access ROS, or would prefer to have their query dealt with by talking it through with a person”, concluded Senator Byrne.