Do you find that if you miss that magic morning gap it's impossible to get hold of a VAT advisor on HMRC webchat?
No, it's not sods law, you just need to pick the right moment. Head over to HMRC webchat at the right time of day and you can cut your waiting time by over 60%!
It might surprise you to know that 4 - 5pm has the shortest waiting time. But, if you need to find another slot that works with your schedule have a look at what we found below.
If you've read our previous post on waiting times for self assessment webchat our thoughts here will not be new. We've found that HMRC webchat advisors are as good as those on the phone, but there is the added benefit of a downloadable conversation. Although the advisors are great, the webchat system itself doesn't make things easy.
1. No multitasking while waiting
Once you land on the webpage you need to pay attention to it until the "speak to an advisor" link appears. That's a tall order during a busy day.
2. Being told to try again... and again..
So, you've spent more minutes than you'd care to consider waiting for the "speak to an advisor" link. At long last it appears, you click it, fill in the form... and get told to try again. Argh!
Since you're here, you might know that the Webchat Autopilot plugin can help, and if you want that pitch head down here. If you're already a plugin user (at the time of writing we have 15 🎉) you know that it can't tell you how long you need to wait for the link. So we did a bit of digging, wrote some code and figured it out... roughly.
The method to this is almost identical to the approach we used in determining the waiting times for self assessment webchat. The only differences were that we were loading up the webchat for VAT, and when a link appeared we waited 10 seconds before we reloaded the page.
The plot below shows how long you can expect to wait depending on when you try to get hold of an advisor. Even though the longest time is under 30 minutes, it does feel quite a bit longer! That said, you can shave almost 20 precious minutes off your wait-time if you head over for the 4 - 5pm lull.
If you've got a flexible calendar but 4 - 5pm doesn't work for you the plot below will be useful. You'll be able to see the times that are best yourself. The ones that stand out outside of 4 - 5pm are 2 - 3pm which is also pretty good. Just before lunch (11 - 12pm) is a terrible idea.
VAT rules are in flux. There is huge upheaval in plenty of sectors and there's no doubt that HMRC advice lines are bearing the brunt of the uncertainty.
We're in the midst of a second wave of the virus in the UK. That could affect how many HMRC webchat advisors are at work.
If you've done the work of combing through this post you're someone that wants to optimise their workday. One way to do that is to use HMRC webchat between 4pm and 5pm. A better way is to install our free browser plugin for HMRC VAT webchat. It can do all sorts of fancy things, like:
We believe that access to tailored HMRC information should be fast and simple, for everyone. With Webchat Autopilot for HMRC webchat, it is.
If you're planning your day it's more useful to know the longest you might wait if you get unlucky. ↩︎
There are plenty of examples - here's one story describing how Brexit is affecting EU-based Etsy sellers. ↩︎