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HMRC internal manual

Complaint Handling Guidance

Classifying the outcome of complaints: Not upheld

A case will normally be classified as “not upheld” if you find no failings (or only very minor ones) over and above those accepted and adequately put right by the department beforehand. It will include those cases where you have been unable to find sufficient evidence to form a view, even on the balance of probabilities. This can typically occur in cases where it is one person’s memory of events against another’s, with no contemporaneous record or other separate, corroborative evidence to throw light on the facts.

“Very minor” failings are those which are either peripheral to the matters complained about and have little overall impact; or are matters complained about but clearly of very low profile and significance in the context of the wider complaint.


  • A complaint is upheld at tier 1, but the customer remains unhappy and escalates to tier 2. At tier 2, you decide that the tier 1 decision was correct and fully remedied the mistake. The tier 2 outcome is not upheld because there are no failings over and above those accepted and adequately put right at tier 1.