How to complain about poor service or delays from HMRC

Do you want to complain about unreasonable delays from HMRC or about a mistake that could have been avoided? Make a formal complaint with our step-by-step guide.

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1 Complain directly to HMRC

Your first port of call would be to complain directly to the person who has been dealing with your case.

If you’re still unhappy with how your complaint is being dealt with, put it in writing to the customer relations or complaints manager.

In your letter you should explain what has gone wrong and how you’d like it resolved. You should include the following:

  • your full name, address, telephone number and email address
  • your National Insurance number
  • the last reference number HMRC used when contacting you
  • your unique taxpayer reference (UTR) if you're in self-assessment

If this is unsuccessful, ask the director with responsibility for the office concerned to review your complaint – your tax office will have details of who this is.

For more information, take a look at HMRC’s guidance.

2 Alternative Dispute Resolution 

If the director can't help, think about applying for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

ADR provides you with the option of having someone who has not been involved in your dispute to work with you and the officer dealing with it. 

The person leading the ADR will act as a neutral third party mediator. They don't take over responsibility for the dispute, but they work with you both to explore ways of resolving the dispute through meetings and telephone conversations.

ADR does not affect your right to appeal a decision.

Find out more about the ADR scheme on the HMRC website.

3 Go to the independent adjudicator

If you're still unhappy, you can ask the independent adjudicator to look into the complaint within six months of your final correspondence with the director’s office or as part of.

This service is free. The adjudicator will only look at your complaint after it has been considered by HMRC.

4 Ombudsman Services

If you’re still unhappy, ask your MP to refer your case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman deals with all complaints about government departments and public bodies.

You can do this at any time but the adjudicator won’t look at a complaint if it has been taken up by the ombudsman.

In addition, the ombudsman will generally not consider a tax or tax credits referral until it has been through the adjudicator.

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