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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Communications: Handling of complaints/compliments: financial redress, interest remission and payments for worry and distress

The following guidance tells you what to do if a taxpayer claims financial redress, interest remission or consolatory payments for worry or distress. They may also apply in cases where taxpayers do not specifically claim them but complain about mistakes and delays (IHTM02248).

Financial redress

  • The factsheet, C/FS Complaints and putting things right, Complain about HMRC, sets out the circumstances in which we may remit interest or reimburse costs incurred as a result of our mistakes or unreasonable delay. It also sets out the circumstances in which we may make a consolatory payment for worry and distress. Any complaints where the parties are claiming costs or compensation should be referred to the Customer Service Team in Ferrers House to consider.

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Interest remission

  • Interest remission (IHTM30522) may be due if there has been unreasonable delay. Any straightforward case where interest remission is claimed or you think it may be appropriate should be referred to your manager (for Compliance cases) or PCTS (for cases dealt with by PC&S). The section on Debt Management (IHTM38494) sets out who has authority to remit interest.

Note: A large proportion of complaints are about interest charges. You should always be aware of the possibilities of raising a provisional assessment or inviting a payment on account to stop interest running on any unpaid tax not in dispute.

Costs and payments for worry and distress

  • You must refer (via your manager) any claims for reimbursement of costs arising from our unreasonable delays or mistakes to the Complaints Manager in Ferrers House. Before you do you should acknowledge their claim and explain that you are referring it to the Customer Service Team. The Customer Service Team is responsible for ensuring consistency in dealing with such claims and holds the budget for these payments.
  • You or your manager may be asked to provide a diary of events and comments on the complaint. If you are a manager you may also be asked to draft a reply for the Complaints Manager to issue. If you are in PC&S in Nottingham, the Primary Compliance Support Team will be happy to help you with this.
  • This procedure also applies to claims for payments for worry and distress.

We can make these to recognise the distress caused by our mistakes or unreasonable delays.

The amounts are not intended to put a value on the level of distress we have caused. These payments are to recognise our failure to deal with the complaint correctly, thoroughly or within a reasonable time.