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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Communications: Handling of complaints/compliments: procedure upon receiving a complaint

However you receive a complaint (by telephone, fax or letter), you should ensure it is dealt with as quickly as possible.

The first step is to identify the complaint when it arrives. Some written complaints will not contain the word ‘complaint’ and you must look out for any problems, mistakes or delays a customer refers to. Every effort should be made to identify a complaint as early as possible - ideally on the day it is received.

Next you need to decide who should be responsible for dealing with the complaint. In most cases you should be able to reply to any complaints you receive. Your manager or Customer Service Team can provide help or advice on more complex cases.

If you cannot deal with the issue or reply immediately you should send an acknowledgement within 5 working days of receiving the complaint. You should explain in your letter who will be responsible for providing the full reply and when it should be expected (no later than 15 working days)

Some complaints should be sent immediately (on the day of receipt) to the Customer Service Team in Ferrers House. These are:

• complaints addressed to Ministers, the Chairman, Head Office, the Adjuducator or the Ombudsman ,which have been forwarded to us for comment

• any correspondence from an MP which involves a complaint

• any complaints personally addressed to the Director or Customer Service/Complaints Manager

• any complaint asking for reimbursement of costs or claims for payments in respect of worry and distress

If your refer a complaint to the Customer Service Team, you or your manager may be asked to provide a diary of events and comments on a complaint. If you are a manager you may also be asked to draft a reply for the Director to issue. If you are in PC&S, the Primary Compliance Support Team will help you with this.

In all other cases you should attempt to deal with complaints yourself. If you have any doubts you should ask for guidance from your manager or from the Customer Service Team. Before you reply you should read the page on handling complaints (IHTM02246).