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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Interest: handling interest objections and enquiries: DTO action: sending cases to the IRU

Before sending a case to the IRU, consider the following:

  • does the customer have other concerns over and above the interest? If so, you should deal with them and reply to the customer on those aspects of the case. The IRU will only look at a customer’s concerns about interest, not the handling of the underlying tax. But don’t delay sending your papers; make a duplicate set of papers to send while you handle the other issues.
  • don’t tell the customer that you have sent the case until your submission is accepted. You will either be contacted with details of the IRU reference and an expected reply date, or any incomplete or unacceptable cases will be returned to you for remedial action. Never give a customer an expectation that we will cancel interest.
  • if the disputed interest hasn’t already been paid, make sure you stop recovery action before sending your papers. Objections will be considered even if the interest has not been paid, as long as the underlying tax is cleared and the interest charge is final. For registered complaints we will usually review the case at an earlier stage if it will help to resolve the complaint.
  • consider whether you need a report from another office to get the full picture. For example, a Debt Technical Office might have to include a report from a Processing or Compliance Team if it appears that their handling of the underlying tax has played a part in creating an excessive interest charge. The IRU may have to return a case to you if you haven’t sent everything needed to carry out the review.
  • in some instances another office may be better suited to handle the objection locally, if the underlying concerns fall within their area of expertise. You should liaise with them to decide who is best placed to deal with the customer’s concerns, and pass them the papers when they agree to take it on.

The submission forms can be found on the Interest Review Unit’s intranet page.