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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Miscellaneous (E to O): Correspondence cannot be traced to claim (AG)

Background

Use this guidance if you are having difficulty tracing a tax credits customer on the computer and you are dealing with

  • a phone referral

or

  • correspondence.

Guidance

Follow this guidance to deal with correspondence that cannot be traced to a claim.

Where you receive a piece of correspondence that does not include a NINO, you should attempt to trace the customer on NTC, TBS, CBOL or ADD using any applicable information supplied. If you do not have access to any of these systems you should pass the correspondence to another member of the team with access to perform the trace.

After all attempts to trace the claimant have failed, you should refer to your manager to do one final trace attempt. Where a customer cannot be traced to which the correspondence relates, it can be destroyed and placed in the confidential waste.

Note: When placing correspondence in the confidential waste, ensure that it is signed by the member of staff and their manager before being destroyed.

However, if the correspondence contains a phone number, you must attempt to contact the customer to establish their details. If contact cannot be made, you must BF the case until the following day and attempt a further call at a different time of the day. If contact is still not made, then the correspondence can be destroyed and placed in confidential waste.

The same process will apply if an address is provided. You must send a minimum of two letters before destroying and placing in confidential waste.

Where you receive a piece of correspondence that includes a NINO but you are not able to locate their award, you should attempt to trace the customer using the tax credits computer system and other systems to check whether the customer has mis-printed their NINO. If, after all attempts, you are not able to trace the customer then send the document to storage using MS164.

If the customer states they have recently submitted a TC600 and it is not yet showing on the system, BF the case for two weeks. If, after the two weeks the claim still is not showing, issue a TC600 with a covering letter to the customer.

If, when typing NINO details into the tax credits computer system, you type in the incorrect details or select the incorrect NINO, this should be reported to your manager immediately giving the following details

  • reason for access
  • date accessed
  • incorrect NINO details
  • correct NINO details.

Managers will record this information on a spreadsheet and held for a 12-month period before being archived. This process will safeguard staff against computer misuse.

Step 1

Use Function TRACE CITIZEN, which should be accessed from Function CAPTURE APPLICATION and enter

  • the customer’s postcode
  • the first initial of the customer’s surname followed by #

then

  • select [Search]. The computer will search the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) databases to try and match the details with an individual.

If the individual is found, go to .

If the individual is not found, go to .

Step 2

If you find the individual you want

  • make a note of the NINO

then

  • use Function VIEW APPLICATION to check whether there has been a claim made

If, when entering the NINO, you input the details incorrectly (and the system brings up another customer’s details)

  • report this to your manager immediately by email
  • provide details of the reason for access, date accessed, the incorrect NINO details, and the correct NINO details.

Note: If the correspondence relates to a child, you will have to search for the adult at that address. The adult may not have the same surname as the child. The HMRC database will have details of the child, but you will not be able to trace the child on the computer using their NINO.

If you trace a claim, go to .

If you do not trace a claim, go to .

Step 3

In Function TRACE CITIZEN enter

  • the customer’s postcode
  • the letter A followed by # in the Surname field

then

  • select [Search]. If the address details are not found, repeat this process through the alphabet

If the individual is not found, go to .

If the individual is found, make a note of the NINO and then use Function VIEW APPLICATION to check whether there has been a claim made.

Note: If the correspondence relates to a child - for example, a medical card - you will have to search for the adult at that address. The adult may not have the same surname as the child. The HMRC database will have details of the child, but you will not be able to trace the child on the computer using their NINO.

If you trace a claim, go to .

If you do not trace a claim but you have the individual’s NINO, go to .

If you do not trace a claim and you do not have the individual’s NINO, go to .

Step 4

If you trace a claim and you consider that the correspondence relates to that claim

  • enter the following details on the correspondence
    • full name
    • NINO for both customers, if appropriate
  • send the correspondence to the relevant team or to storage, whichever is appropriate
  • take no further action.

Step 5

If you have the individual’s NINO

  • use the Access to DWP Data (ADD) System
  • enter the NINO on the Home screen
  • select [Verify]

If the message ‘No Results Returned’ displays, go to .

If details are found and they relate to the correct person, go to .

If details are found but they do not relate to the correct person, go to .

Step 6

Use Person Trace and enter personal details into any of the fields

Note: A minimum of two of the following three items must be used

  • forename (in full)
  • surname (in full)
  • date of birth (DD/MM/YYYY)

then

  • select [Trace].

If the message ‘No Results Returned’ displays, go to .

If details are found they will appear in the Results table

Note: You can view more information for the person you have traced by selecting the NINO.

If, when entering the NINO, you input the details incorrectly (and the system brings up another customer’s details)

  • report this to your manager immediately by email
  • provide details of the reason for access, date accessed, the incorrect NINO details, and the correct NINO details.

If you find the correct person, go to .

Wildcard tracing

‘Wildcard tracing’ is tracing using in complete details. ADD allows you to enter a ‘Wildcard’ in certain fields as follows

  • surname
  • forename
  • address line 1.

To use a wildcard, an asterisk (*) should be placed to indicate a string of one or more unknown characters.

When using a wildcard for NINO, surname, forename and postcode, at least three characters should be used - for example, Smi*, Smit*.

When using a wildcard for address line 1, at least seven characters should be used - for example, 200 Stan*.

When tracing by address, a full postcode should always be used.

If details are found and they relate to the correct person, go to .

If details are found but they do not relate to the correct person, go to .

Step 7

If the person you are tracing is not found, enter more personal details and attempt an additional ‘Wildcard’ trace

Note: For unsuccessful ‘Wildcard’ traces, contact the customer by phone to ask them for more information to help you trace the claim. Follow the guidance in TCM0094080. If a phone number is not available but an address is, write to the customer. Send a minimum of two letters before placing the correspondence in the confidential waste.

Note: When placing correspondence in the confidential waste, ensure that it is signed by the member of staff and their manager before being destroyed

Note: Where the customer has recently submitted a TC600 and it is not yet showing on the tax credits computer system, BF the case for two weeks. If, after the two weeks, the claim still is not showing and you are unable to contact the customer, place correspondence in confidential waste.

If the person you are tracing is found, go to .

Step 8

If you find the individual you want

  • make a note of the NINO

then

  • use Function VIEW APPLICATION to check whether there has been a claim made

If, when entering the NINO, you input the details incorrectly (and the system brings up another customer’s details)

  • report this to your manager immediately by email
  • provide details of the reason for access, date accessed, the incorrect NINO details, and the correct NINO details.

If you trace a claim and you consider that the correspondence relates to that claim, enter the following details on the correspondence

  • full name
  • NINO for both customers, if applicable
  • send it to the relevant team.

If you do not trace a claim, go to .

Step 9

Check whether the customer(s) live in a closed postcode area, or one which is about to close and if they are of Pension Credit Qualifying Age (PCQA).  For how to do this, use TCM1000628.

If you are dealing with a postcode area which has already closed, go to .

If you are dealing with a postcode area that is due to close within 21 days, go to .

If the postcode area is open

  • issue form TC600 with a covering letter to the customer
  • take no further action.

 

Step 10

If the household contains a customer who is of PCQA

  • issue form TC600 with a covering letter to the customer
  • take no further action.

Note: customers in a joint household where one customer is of PCQA have the option to claim tax credits or UC. They cannot claim both at the same time

If the household does not contain a customer who is of PCQA

  • send the TC27 to the customer
  • take no further action.

Step 11

If the household contains a customer who is of PCQA

  • issue form TC600 with a covering letter to the customer
  • take no further action.

If the household does not contain a customer who is of PCQA, go to .

Step 12

Contact the customer, for how to do this use, TCM0094080

Note: if the customer(s) are not of PCQA and live in a postcode area which is due to close within 21 days, tell them they will need to make a claim before their postcode area closes. They should contact our helpline who will be able to help them with this.

If you were able to contact the customer tell them

  • their postcode area is due to close and they will need to make a new claim to tax credits before this happens
  • advise the customer to contact the helpline who will check their eligibility and, if eligible, capture their claim.

If you were not able to contact the customer

  • issue form TC600 with a covering letter to the customer
  • take no further action.