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Successfully resolving queries with HMRC

A guide to the best way to engage with HMRC if your client or business has a dispute of query.

Successfully resolving queries with HMRC
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HMRC supports agents through a wide range of communication channels and services. Effectively accessing information needed to support your clients can improve efficiency and reduce time in securing answers to queries. This article outlines channels to effectively engage and source information and achieve answers to queries from HMRC, as well as routes to assist in strengthening and improving the service to agents.

As with all other government departments, GOV.UK is HMRC’s primary source of services and information, including guidance to help customers pay the correct tax. Tax guidance can sometimes be complex in nature and where an agent - or indeed any HMRC customer - believes there may be an error or omission or the clarity of the content can be improved, they can complete the short contact form at gov.uk/ contact/govuk.

HMRC will respond to content suggestions if you request a reply. Alternatively, anonymous feedback can be provided to report a technical problem with any page, by selecting the ‘report a problem with this page’ link near the bottom of the page. Information on GOV.UK is supported by a range of Agent Toolkits and highlighted by articles in Agent Update, and dedicated Agent Talking Points Webinars.

These webinars also provide agents with the opportunity to submit questions for presenters to answer. Agents who’d like a specific topic to be covered in Agent Update or Agent Talking Points should email requests to [email protected] hmrc.gov.uk.

Agents may also wish to register for the Employer Bulletin, HMRC’s primary vehicle for providing key information and updates to employers and payroll agents, and for the Agent Blog and alerts for updates on GOV.UK. HMRC also provides a range of digital services to access information such as, “Where’s my reply?” to find out when you can expect to get a reply from HMRC to a query or request you’ve made for income tax and self-assessment. Feedback and suggestions for this service can be provided using the ‘where is my reply?’ feedback form. If having accessed the online information and digital services, agents still require additional clarification they may wish to contact a HMRC adviser using webchat.

It, in theory, should be faster, alongside a wider range of opening hours. Where it is necessary to call HMRC to discuss a complex case, agents can use the agent-dedicated line. This telephone service is available for agents to discuss complex queries that cannot be resolved through the use of HMRC’s digital channels. Queries regarding progress chasing, requests for pay and tax and employment history information and SA302 information will not be handled by the advisers on this line.

Should an agent be unable to resolve a client’s issue, they may use the Agent Account Manager Service (AAM). The AAM acts as a single point of contact, pre-complaints channel to help resolve any ongoing client-specific problems when the usual escalation processes within HMRC have failed.

The AAMs mediate with the business area to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Where an agent believes there is a potential systemic issue impacting other firms, a solution may be available or the issue can be highlighted, in addition to reporting the issue by Webchat or to the Contact Centre, by accessing the Working Together Online Agent Forum. This provides a platform for multiple agents to report potential widespread issues, i.e. non-client specific, for HMRC to investigate and resolve.

Agents can also ask the IFA to raise significant areas of concern through the HMRC forums on which they represent members, such as the Agent Support Group and Charter Stakeholder Group. Where issues remain unresolved, agents can consider whether this aligns with the HMRC Charter; this can be found if you search for ‘HMRC Charter’ on GOV.UK.

HMRC welcomes any feedback about interactions with them and how they have performed against the charter; you can email [email protected] Agents can also consider whether to complain to HMRC. To make a complaint to HMRC on behalf of their client, agents must be appointed as their tax adviser. Details of how to lodge a complaint are available at gov.uk/complain-about-hmrc.

HMRC constantly reviews how to answer agent queries as effectively as possible and continues to work with professional bodies on ideas and suggestions provided to improve services to support agents. 

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