beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Complaint Handling Guidance

Avenues and time limits for making complaints: Avenues for making a complaint

All customers are entitled to make complaints, and they may be made by telephone, in person or in writing. Because of the inherent security risks involved with email communication (eg anyone can obtain an email address and claim to be someone else), HMRC’s general policy is that we do not normally communicate with customers about their affairs by email. Please refer to your own business area’s guidance on dealing with complaints, or any other correspondence, received via email.

We will also accept complaints made on behalf of our customers by a third party, although we must be careful to ensure that we follow the rules about confidentiality in such cases - see Information Disclosure Guidance (external users can find this guidance at

If someone expresses a wish to complain (but does not wish to do so there and then) or seems particularly upset by our actions, tell them where they can get information if they do decide to make a complaint. This will usually be the appropriate business unit, though be aware that some Business Units have their own more detailed guidance on handling complaints geared specifically to that business. Check your own business’s Intranet pages to see if they include business specific complaints handling guidance.

Remember, if the customer is disputing our view of the law, the amount of tax or duty they have to pay, or the credit or benefit they are entitled to, a formal appeal may well be the correct route. Our complaints procedure is not an alternative to an appeal: regardless of whether a customer exercises their appeal rights, we will not consider appealable matters under our complaints policy.