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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

How to complain to HM Revenue & Customs

In most cases, your dealings with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) 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.

How to complain

Whatever the nature of your dealings with HMRC, if you've had a bad experience, the sooner you let them know, the sooner they 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, HMRC is 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 the person you've been dealing with, or to call one of HMRC's helplines. This will usually be enough to put matters right, but if you're still unhappy HMRC has a formal complaints procedure.

Complaints procedure

How to complain

Write to or ask to speak to the Complaints Manager at the office 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

Summarise what you think has gone wrong and what you think HMRC should do to put it right. They will look at your concerns and contact you as soon as possible - normally within 15 days.

HMRC would normally expect to resolve most complaints at this stage.

Taking your complaint further

If you're unhappy with the response you receive, you can ask HMRC to look at your complaint again. A different complaints handler will:

  • take a fresh look at it, and how it was handled
  • give you a final decision

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


The Adjudicator is a fair and unbiased referee, independent of HMRC, whose services are free.

The Adjudicator's Office
8th Floor
Euston Tower
286 Euston Road

Telephone: 030 0057 1111 or 020 7667 1832
Fax: 030 0057 1212 or 020 7667 1830


If you're not satisfied with HMRC's or the Adjudicator's handling of your complaint, you can ask an 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 0845 015 4033. Lines are open 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday.

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

What to expect when you complain

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

  • tell you that they'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 unreasonable delay by HMRC, such as:

  • postage
  • phone calls
  • professional fees

If HMRC mistakes or unreasonable 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.

Provided by HM Revenue and Customs

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