Find out how to complain about the service you've received from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and what happens if you do.
Contact HMRC as soon as possible if you’re unhappy with the service you’ve had, for example:
- unreasonable delays
- how we’ve treated you
- serious misconduct by HMRC staff
HMRC will look at your complaint and try to put things right quickly.
There’s a different process if you disagree with a tax decision or a penalty you’ve been asked to pay.
How to complain
Use the online form to complain about the service you’ve received from HMRC. You’ll need to sign in or register for a Government Gateway account to do this.
There’s a separate business complaint form.
Don’t use these forms if you’re complaining as an agent.
You can also contact HMRC to complain by phone or post.
If you need someone to complain on your behalf
You can ask someone else to complain for you. This could be a relative, friend or professional adviser.
There are also many voluntary organisations that may be able to help you, for example:
You’ll need to authorise someone to deal with HMRC on your behalf before they can make a complaint for you.
What happens when you complain to HMRC
HMRC won’t treat you any differently because you’ve made a complaint. We’ll deal with your matter fairly and impartially.
When you complain HMRC will:
- try to solve the problem and reply to you as quickly as possible
- handle your complaint confidentially and investigate the issues thoroughly
- give you the name and contact details of the person who’s dealing with your complaint
- keep you informed of the progress of your complaint
- let you know who to contact if you’re still unhappy
If the person, office or helpline you’ve contacted can’t deal with your concerns, they’ll pass your complaint to a customer service adviser.
Ask for your complaint to be passed to a customer service adviser straight away if you’d prefer not to talk about the matter with the person or office directly.
When HMRC replies to your complaint you’ll get a paper or digital copy of the putting things right: how to complain - Factsheet C/FS.
HMRC won’t send the factsheet if you’re an agent and your complaint is about Self Assessment or Income Tax. The response will tell you where you can get the factsheet or more information.
How HMRC will put things right
If we’ve made a mistake we’ll say sorry, explain what happened and put things right as quickly as we can.
We’ll consider refunding any reasonable costs directly caused by our mistakes or unreasonable delays. Costs can include postage, phone charges or professional fees. You should keep your receipts if you want us to make a refund.
If you think our actions have caused you worry or distress tell us straight away. In some cases we may be able to make a small payment to acknowledge this and apologise.
Where issues with the childcare service, mistakes or unreasonable delays mean you miss out on Tax-Free Childcare we may be able to pay you the government top ups you have missed.
Where we make a mistake or delay using information you’ve given us, and we send you a late tax bill or pay you too much tax credits, we may not collect the full amount you owe.
There are very strict conditions in these situations - the person dealing with your complaint can give more information.
How to take your complaint further
If you don’t agree with HMRC’s reply to your complaint, you can ask for it to be looked at a second time.
If you do this, a different customer service adviser will:
- take a fresh look at the complaint
- give you a final response
Once we give you that response, our complaints procedure is complete.
You can also consider applying for Alternative Dispute Resolution if you’ve stopped making progress with your complaint.
If you’re still unhappy after a second HMRC review, you can ask the Adjudicator to look into your complaint. They act as a fair and unbiased referee and the service is free.
The Adjudicator will investigate and help to resolve complaints from individuals and businesses who remain unhappy about the way their affairs have been handled. They can’t consider disputes about policy or matters of law.
HMRC will tell you how to contact the Adjudicator when we give you our final response. The Adjudicator will only look at your complaint after we’ve tried to put it right for you.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
You can also ask a Member of Parliament to refer your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman is independent and will look into a complaint, usually after it’s been considered by the Adjudicator.
How to manage your tax affairs during a complaint
You should continue to pay any tax that’s due while HMRC, the Adjudicator or the Parliamentary Ombudsman are dealing with your complaint. If you stop or delay your payments you may be charged interest or penalties.
Published: 1 December 2014
Updated: 25 August 2017
- How to claim section updated with link to new business complaints form.
- The guidance has been updated to include what to do if you if you have a complaint about the childcare service.
- An online form is now available to make complaints about your Self Assessment and PAYE Income Tax.
- Trial online form available to make complaints about your PAYE Income Tax.
- First published.