Tax credits - how to complain

The Tax Credit Office aims to provide a good service, but mistakes and delays can happen. You have the right to complain about poor service.

On this page:

When to complain

If you've had a bad experience, let the Tax Credit Office know as soon as possible. You may want to complain about:

  • mistakes you think they have made
  • unreasonable delays
  • how you've been treated

The Tax Credit Office is keen to learn from errors and put things right as quickly as possible.

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How to complain - first steps

As a first step, you should contact the Tax Credits Complaints Manager by:

  • calling the Tax Credit Helpline
  • writing to the Complaints Manager at the Tax Credit Office
  • visiting any HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Enquiry Centre

It's not possible to send tax credits complaints by email.

Contact details for the Tax Credit Helpline and Office

Give as much detail as you can about your complaint, including:

  • what went wrong
  • when it happened
  • who you dealt with
  • how you would like it settled

If you write in, put 'Complaint' at the top of your letter and include your:

  • full name and address
  • National Insurance number
  • telephone number

The Complaints Manager will look at your concerns and contact you - normally within 15 working days. They try to resolve most complaints at this stage.

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If you want to take your complaint further

If you're unhappy with the response from the Complaints Manager, you can ask them to look at your complaint again. They will:

  • take a fresh look at it and how they've handled it
  • give you a final decision

You can do this in writing or by phone, but you can't get in touch by email.

Contact details for the Tax Credit Helpline and Office

If you're still unhappy

If you're unhappy after your complaint has been looked at again, you can ask the Adjudicator to look into it. The Adjudicator is a fair and unbiased referee whose recommendations are independent.

The Adjudicator will only look at your complaint after you have first tried to resolve it with the Tax Credit Office.

Visit the Adjudicator's Office website (Opens new window)

You can also ask any MP to refer your case to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The Ombudsman normally expects you to have had your complaint considered by the Tax Credit Office and the Adjudicator, before they will consider your case.

Visit the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website (Opens new window)

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What to expect from the Tax Credit Office when you complain

If you need to complain the Tax Credit Office will:

  • tell you that they've received your complaint, who's dealing with it and when they'll reply
  • treat your complaint seriously and confidentially
  • not treat you differently from other people because you've made a complaint
  • not discriminate against you for any reason

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Claiming back costs

You may be able to claim costs caused by the Tax Credit Office’s mistakes like:

  • postage
  • phone calls
  • travel expenses
  • professional fees
  • financial charges

They may make a small payment if:

  • they caused you a lot of worry
  • your complaint was handled badly
  • they took too long to deal with your complaint

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More useful links

Download a factsheet on complaints and putting things right (PDF 49K)

How to make an appeal against a tax credit decision

How to dispute a tax credits overpayment

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