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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Communications: Incoming telephone calls: summary - Business By Telephone

  • protect the confidentiality of personal taxpayer information, and
  • be alert to the possibility of bogus telephone enquirers

So, you must establish the caller’s identity by:

  • -asking them for the file reference
  • asking what their connection to the estate is
  • If the caller is a personal representative (pr) (IHTM05012) asking them to confirm their full name and address, if an agent, asking for the date and reference of their last letter to the Office.

Once you have established the caller’s identity, you can continue the telephone call.

  • understanding the purpose(s) of the call
  • taking notes of all the relevant details of the call
  • telling the caller what action you have taken or intend to take
  • giving the caller an idea of the time it will take for any action to be taken.

If the caller requests information that is on the file

Tell the caller you will need to look at the file before you can provide any information, so you will need to call them back. Explain this is an additional security procedure to protect customer confidentiality. Tell them you will phone back straightaway and do so.

When calling back an unrepresented pr or an agent, always look at the paper correspondence held on file to verify the telephone number given, before you call back.

Where a represented pr calls and asks for information from the file, ask the caller if they are listed in the telephone directory. If they are, check their number against the BT telephone directory before calling back. Where it is not possible to confirm a caller’s number explain that taxpayer confidentiality prevents you discussing the matter over the phone. Ask them what information they need and say you will write to them with the information. Make sure you write to the caller as soon as you possibly can.

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How to end the telephone call

  • Tell the caller what action is to be taken
  • Check the caller understands what will happen next and when. Make sure they understand any action they need to take
  • Make a clear note of the telephone call as soon as the call has ended