Some tips for successful complaints

Fair play

Sometimes tax can seem to be all about rules. But there is another aspect to dealing with HMRC: service standards. HMRC has a published charter (Your Charter) which sets out what it expects from you, and what you can expect in return.

You can expect HMRC to:

In return, HMRC expects you to:

When things go wrong

But sometimes things go wrong. If this happens you may want to consider a complaint. There is guidance on how to do this on the website. It will usually be best to raise your concerns as soon as possible. Try to keep a note of who you have contacted at HMRC, when and how – by phone, or letter, or structured email. Keep copies of any letters you send, and a note of anything discussed over the phone, with details of the date and time of the call, and the name of the person you spoke to.

Steps to putting things right

Be clear about the difference between a tax dispute, and a tax complaint. If you have a dispute, then you have a right of appeal – and need to follow the appeal route to the tax tribunal. If you have a complaint, where you think that HMRC’s service to you has been inadequate, the procedure is different, and less formal.

A good way to see how this works in practice, is to look at the case studies in the Adjudicator’s Office report. The Adjudicator deals with complaints about HMRC. You need to follow a series of steps before you can complain to the Adjudicator. These are set out of the Adjudicator’s website here.

What areas cause problems?

PAYE issues, such as underpayments of tax, due to tax code errors, and tax credits are recurrent areas of complaint.

What to do next

Perhaps the best way to understand complaints is to look at the Adjudicator’s Office report. The latest report can be accessed here.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 25th, 2015 at 6:35 pm and is filed under Tax News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.