Tax Credits: Navigating HMRC
This section of the website explains the function of different parts of HMRC in relation to tax credits.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
HMRC is a non-ministerial government department which means that they do not operate under the day-to-day control of a government minister. The Queen appoints Commissioners who have the responsibility for the administration of the Department. The Commissioners are responsible for delivering the objectives established by the Chancellor, this includes the administration of the tax credits system. HMRC publish an organisational chart that shows board members and their responsibilities.
Benefits and Credits (B&C)
HMRC is structured around four operational groups, each led by a Director General. B&C is one of these operational groups and it is led by Nick Lodge (Director General) who is a Commissioner.
B&C is the part of HMRC that is responsible for tax credits, child benefit, guardian’s allowance and health in pregnancy grants.
Tax Credit Office (TCO)
The TCO is part of B&C and is responsible for many of the operational parts of the tax credits system and back office processes. The TCO process claims, carry out compliance checks, deal with disputes, appeals and complaints, amongst other things.
Generally, the TCO are a ‘back office’ which means that they don’t interact with claimants in the same way that contact centres do. Normally, contact with the TCO is with a specific TCO worker about a specific issue, such as an appeal or a compliance investigation.
Contact centres send referrals to the TCO for issues that cannot be dealt with by the tax credit helpline such as backdating and notional offsetting requests.
Debt Management and Banking (DMB)
DMB is the part of HMRC responsible for collecting debt owed to the department. This includes tax credits debt as well as normal tax debt. Tax credits overpayments start out with the TCO but after an initial attempt at recovery the debts are passed to DMB.
HMRC have a network of contact centres that deal with telephone calls from claimants. Often referred to as the tax credit helpline (0345 300 3900 or 0345 300 3909 for textphone), it is actually a group of contact centres spread across the UK who deal with calls to the main helpline number.
The tax credit helpline escalate cases to the TCO if they cannot deal with a particular issue.
Customer Service and Support Group (CSSG)
CSSG is a group within the TCO that are likely to have contact with advisers. They deal with explanation requests, disputes and complaints. They are generally a back office team, meaning there is no one contact number for them, but any letters sent out by the team should include a direct dial number for the officer dealing with that particular case.
Intermediaries Dispute and Complaints Team (IDCT)
IDCT is part of CSSG (and therefore the TCO) and deal with explanation requests, disputes and complaints from voluntary sector intermediaries. The team were set up to specifically deal with advisers’ queries. Due to limited resources, the team only deal with correspondence from voluntary sector intermediaries who give free advice and representation. Otherwise the case will be dealt with by the normal CSSG teams.
HMRC Enquiry Centres (EC)
HMRC have a series of offices across the country that are referred to as enquiry centres. The number of EC has reduced greatly over the last few years and will continue to do so for the future. Claimants can visit enquiry centres but need an appointment to do so (which should be arranged via the tax credit helpline).
Updated 13 June 2013