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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

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, speak to them 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.

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.

We 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 we must 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 business area taking the decision to limit contact with the agent.