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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Agent operational guidance: limiting contact with agents: refusing to deal with an agent by phone and/or at meetings

When an agent’s behaviour is rude, abusive, threatening or violent, see CH855000, we can refuse to have meetings with them, or speak with them either face to face, by phone, or both.

Restricting an agent’s ability to deal with us can lead to complaints if we do not have a substantial and well understood body of evidence supporting our decision. If you feel that an agent’s behaviour is such that we should consider limiting contact with them you should contact the (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) , see CH860000, before taking any action.

Before we take a decision to limit our form of contact with an abusive agent we must tell them in what way their behaviour is unacceptable and give them the opportunity to

  • respond to our concerns
  • discuss with us the reasons for our proposed course of action.

The ACT can do this by meeting the agent, by phone or in writing.

An early opportunity given to the agent to discuss behaviour will often lead to an effective resolution.

In a minority of cases the agent’s poor behaviour will continue and we will limit our form of contact with them. If this happens you should advise the ACT, who will be monitoring the agent’s behaviour and who will write to the agent setting out the reasons for our decision to limit our contact with them. We must say that normal contact will be resumed when the agent gives an undertaking to change their behaviour. This letter must be signed or approved at Director level within the ACT’s business area.