If a taxpayer feels that HMRC has made mistakes, treated them unfairly, or they have been subject to unreasonable delays on the part of HMRC in getting matters resolved, it is possible to make a complaint.
To make a complaint to HMRC, taxpayers can log in to their Government Gateway account online, or by phone or post. Complaints can be made by an individual or by a business and can be made on the taxpayer’s behalf by a professional adviser, a friend or relative, or a voluntary organisation, such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Tax Aid, or Tax Help for Older People. To make a complaint on someone’s behalf, they must be first authorised by HMRC. Complaints are advised to be made as soon as possible.
However, these methods cannot be used to dispute the amount of tax that is due or tax penalties, or to complain about serious misconduct by HMRC staff.
It is also important that the taxpayer continues to pay tax while the complaint is being dealt with, as this may result in penalties.
How HMRC handles complaints
HMRC states that when a complaint is made, they will:
- try to resolve the problem;
- not treat the taxpayer any differently due to a complaint being made;
- handle the complaint confidentially;
- provide the name and contact details of the person who is dealing with the complaint;
- consider refunds for reasonable costs incurred by mistakes or delays;
- keep the taxpayer informed of the progress of the complaint; and
- provide details of who to contact if the complaint is not resolved satisfactorily.
If the person who is contacted in the first instance cannot resolve the complaint, it will be passed to a customer service advisor. Or, the complaint can be made direct to a customer service advisor from the outset.
When making a complaint, it is important that the taxpayer gives sufficient information to allow the complaint to be investigated and the matter put right. This includes information such as what happened and when, who dealt with it, the effect of HMRC’s actions, and what action the taxpayer would like to be taken to resolve matters. The taxpayer’s full name and address and any relevant reference numbers should also be provided.
Disagreeing with the outcome
If HMRC do not resolve matters to the taxpayer’s satisfaction, there are further routes that can be taken. In this first instance, a different customer service advisor will investigate and review the complaint for a second and final time. If this still does not resolve matters once HMRC have provided a final response, the taxpayer can ask the Adjudicator’s Office to investigate the complaint, this service is free. Thereafter, the matter can be referred to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman via the taxpayer’s MP.
If you need more information on complain procedure, we recommend contacting one of our specialist tax accountant. We offer free advice with no obligation to use our services.