How to make a successful claim against the taxman

11 October 2012

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has admitted that 57% of complaints made against it - ranging from miscalculations to bad customer service - are upheld by its own internal complaints system.

Here is how you can submit a complaint:

Speak to HMRC

If you are unhappy about the service you received in calculating your tax bill, contact HMRC as soon as possible. Start by contacting the person you have been dealing with in your local tax office. Alternatively, try one of HMRC's helplines.

Complaints handler

If that doesn't help resolve your problem, your complaint can be referred to a complaints handler. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can have your complaint referred to a complaints handler straight away. You can complain by telephone or in writing.

The more information the better

When filing your complaint include as much information as possible, mentioning what went wrong, when it happened, who you dealt with and what you'd like HMRC to do.

Use the Adjudicator's Office

If you're unhappy with the outcome, you can ask for your complaint to be reviewed by a different complaints handler. If that still doesn't resolve your issue, you can ask the Adjudicator's Office ( - a free and unbiased service - to look into the matter, but you can only do so after you've exhausted the route outlined above.

Paper return deadline - 31 October

If you need to fill in a self-assessment tax return and wish to use a paper form, it must reach HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) by midnight on 31 October.

You can download a form by going to Alternatively, you can fill out your tax return online, where you have until midnight on 31 January to fi le your return and pay what you owe.

If you miss the deadlines, you'll be stung with penalties. The longer you delay, the more you'll have to pay.

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