Having someone help you
When you are struggling to cope
Sometimes you may want someone else to contact HMRC for you. This could be a friend or relative, an advice worker, a colleague or a support worker.
Before HMRC will discuss your affairs with someone else, they need you to confirm that you are happy with this arrangement. Sometimes it is possible to do this informally over the phone. (The member of HMRC staff will want to speak to you directly to confirm who you are and that you are happy for them to discuss you affairs with someone else.)
If you are helping someone else with their tax – for example a friend or a relative – HMRC has introduced simplified procedures for the taxes helpline. The procedures may be extended to other helplines in due course. When you phone the tax helpline (0300 200 3300), you will be able to:
- find out if HMRC has received a letter or phone call from the taxpayer and if, and when, it was dealt with
- be told how long it will take HMRC to deal with a case and the reasons for any delays
- tell HMRC why the taxpayer is unable to deal with their own affairs at the moment (this may lead to HMRC changing the way they handle the case)
- request a home visit or face to face appointment at another venue for the taxpayer
HMRC will be able to issue duplicate correspondence and send the following to the taxpayer at your request:
- duplicate tax returns, forms and copies of letters from HMRC (in special format if necessary)
- confirmation of details such as penalties, surcharges etc.
- provide a written explanation to the taxpayer
In cases of bereavement, HMRC will be able to send papers to the personal representative or executor at the request of a friend or relative who is not themselves the personal representative or executor.
To access this service, a caller will need to:
- give the name, address and national insurance number of the taxpayer
- give their own name, and explain their relationship to the taxpayer
No details about the taxpayer will be provided over the phone, or sent to the caller. It will be issued in writing, to the taxpayer in question.
If you need a simple form of authority
Where simplified procedures are not enough, or do not apply, written authority may be required.
Sometimes a simple, informal letter of authorisation, will be acceptable – one which may be posted or faxed. This might take the form:
Dear Sir or Madam
Tax reference number: [give your tax reference here]
This is to advise you that I have asked (give the name and address of the person you have authorised) to help me deal with my tax affairs and I hereby authorise you to speak to them, disclose information about my tax affairs, and correspond with them, on my behalf.
A letter like this can allow HMRC to discuss your affairs with someone else. It differs from HMRC’s official form (64-8) because, unlike the 64-8, it does not appoint that person to be your tax agent.
If you have problems authorising someone to speak to HMRC on your behalf, you may contact TaxAid for suggestions for a way forward.
There is information about asking someone else to help you contact the tax office on the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/dealingwith/dealing-with.htm