HMRC Charter

10 September 2013

HMRC has a Charter setting out what tax payers can expect from them and what they expect from tax payers.  The Charter explains that a tax payer can expect HMRC to: 

  • Respect you;
  • Help and support you to get things right;
  • Treat you as honest;
  • Treat you even-handedly;
  • Be professional and act with integrity;
  • Tackle people who deliberately break the rules and challenge those who bend the rules;
  • Protect your information and respect your privacy;
  • Accept that someone else can represent you;
  • Do all they can to keep the cost of dealing with them as low as possible.
  • Failure to Meet Charter obligations

If you experience unreasonable delays, mistakes, poor treatment by HMRC officers then the Charter does have some teeth.  Disagreements over the amount of customs duty paid or approval of customs planning can be appealed through a different process and are not covered by the complaints procedure.

If HMRC does not meet its standards then you can complain first to HMRC’s Complaints Handler then and Independent Adjudicator and finally to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

A successful complaint can result in an apology, payment towards reasonable costs incurred as a result of poor behaviour (including professional fees) and compensation for distress caused.

HMRC Handling Your Information

All information HMRC holds on you is subject to a duty of confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998.  As such, HMRC undertakes not to give your information to anyone, including their agencies, Local Government, the police or any other public or private sector bodies unless they have lawful authority to do so.

HMRC’s Information Charter states that they will:

  • Only ask you for information they need to do their job;
  • Protect the information obtained;
  • Explain why they need the information (if you ask);
  • Give you the information they hold on you when you ask for it, as long at the law lets them;
  • Make sure they do not keep the information about you longer than necessary;
  • HMRC’s Expectations of You.

The Charter also sets out what HMRC expect from you, namely:

  • To be honest;
  • Respect their staff;
  • To take care to get things right.

It is important when dealing with HMRC to ensure you provide accurate information and all the necessary facts for them to make decisions.

It is also important to contact HMRC as soon as practicable if you have made a mistake.  This not only protects your reputation but should help ensure you are not subject to penalties.


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