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How to complain to HM Revenue & Customs

In most cases, your dealings with us should be routine and cause you no difficulties or inconvenience. However, mistakes and delays can occur, or you may feel unhappy with how you've been dealt with. Whatever the problem, you have the right to complain about poor service.

Whatever the nature of your dealings with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), if you've had a bad experience, the sooner you let us know, the sooner we can do something about it. Whether your complaint concerns an unreasonable delay, a mistake you feel could have been avoided, or how you have been dealt with, we're keen to learn from errors and put things right as quickly as possible.

First steps

As a first step it's usually best to speak to someone in the Tax Office you've been dealing with, or at the port or airport if it's a Customs complaint. This will usually be enough to put matters right, but if you're still unhappy we do have a formal complaints procedure.

Complaints procedure

Contact the Complaints Manager

Write to or ask to speak to the Complaints Manager at the office or port/airport concerned. You can make your complaint by letter, phone, fax or in person. Tell them you're unhappy and want to complain. If writing, put Complaint at the top of your letter or fax.

Make sure you provide, or are ready to give:

  • your full name and address
  • your National Insurance number
  • the last reference number HMRC used when contacting you
  • a contact telephone number or email address

Summarise what you think has gone wrong and what you think we should do to put it right. We will look at your concerns and contact you as soon as possible - normally within 15 days. We would normally expect to resolve most complaints at this stage.

Contact the director with overall responsibility

If you are unhappy with our response you can ask us to look at your complaint again. A senior officer who has not been involved will:

  • take a fresh look at it and how we have handled it
  • give you a final decision

If you are still unhappy you can ask the Adjudicator to look into your complaint.

Adjudicator

The Adjudicator is a fair and unbiased referee, independent of HMRC, and provides their service free of charge.

The Adjudicator's Office
8th Floor
Euston Tower
286 Euston Road
London
NW1 3US

Tel 0300 057 1111 or 020 7667 1832
Fax 0300 057 1212 or 020 7667 1830

Download leaflet about complaints to the Adjudicator (PDF 676K) (new window)

Visit the Adjudicator's website

Ombudsman

If you're not satisfied with HMRC's or the Adjudicator's handling of your complaint, you can ask any MP to refer your case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

For more information visit the Parliamentary Ombudsman Service website or call the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Helpline on Tel 0345 015 4033. Lines are open 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

Visit the Parliamentary Ombudsman website

You can also ask your MP to take up your case with HMRC or Treasury Ministers.

What to expect when you complain

We are keen to help you if you need to complain and will deal with you in a friendly and professional way. We will:

  • tell you that we've received your complaint, give you the name of the person dealing with it and let you know when to expect a reply
  • treat your complaint seriously and keep it confidential
  • not treat you differently from other people just because you've made a complaint
  • not discriminate against you for any reason

Claiming back costs

You may be able to claim back reasonable costs that you have incurred as a direct result of mistakes or delay by HMRC, such as:

  • postage
  • phone calls
  • travelling expenses
  • professional fees
  • financial charges

If HMRC mistakes or delays have caused you a lot of worry or distress they may make a small payment to acknowledge and apologise for this. They might also make an additional payment if your complaint was handled badly or they took an unreasonable time to deal with it.

More useful links

Download leaflet - Complaints and putting things right (PDF 364K)

Find the contact details for your Tax Office

Tax credits - how to complain

Appeals against HM Revenue & Customs decisions

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