Tax Credits: Intermediaries
This section of the site outlines how to become an intermediary in respect of tax credits and the processes HMRC have in place that can help intermediaries.
- What is an intermediary?
- What can an intermediary do?
- How to become an intermediary
- Registering as an intermediary organisation
- Intermediaries helpline
- Intermediaries dispute and complaints team
HMRC defines an intermediary as one of the following:
- voluntary organisation
- a friend or relative
- someone who explains things to you if you have difficulty understanding English, for example an interpreter.
It also includes other organisations such as welfare rights workers within Local Authorities.
According to HMRC, an intermediary can:
- talk to the Tax Credit Office about a claim
- help with filling in forms
- answer any questions on a claimants behalf
- smooth the process of making and renewing a claim
They cannot receive the payment on behalf of a tax credits claimant.
HMRC authorise intermediaries using form TC689.
If it is a joint claim, both claimants should sign the form. For joint claims that have ended, it is sufficient for only your client to sign the form (without the other partner). In such cases HMRC should give all information about the previous joint claim and should not require a signature from the second partner.
To avoid delay in setting up the authority, you must ensure that all questions are completed and that signature(s) have been obtained. HMRC will not process incomplete TC689’s.
Once logged on the system, the TC689 lasts for 12 months unless a different end date is specified.
If you deal with tax credits on a regular basis you may wish to become a registered intermediary which will allow you to submit the TC689 electronically. See below for details of how to do this.
Registering as an intermediary organisation
HMRC have a process in place to allow organisations who deal with tax credits on a regular basis to become an intermediary organisation.
To do this your organisation will need to register with the Intermediaries, Agents and Appointees Team by completing form TC1136 and posting it to:
HMRC Benefits and Credits
Intermediaries, Agents and Appointees Team
Once authorised, you will be given a reference number for your organisation which can be used on the TC689 form. In addition, in cases where a TC689 is needed quickly, authorisations for tax credits can be submitted electronically using the on-line KANA version of TC689. Please note that the on-line TC689 form doesn’t have the customer(s) signature so you must keep an additional copy signed by the customer(s) as HMRC may request to see the original at any time as part of their assurance checks. HMRC will only accept a TC689 electronically from registered organisations.
There is an Intermediaries helpline which is separate from the main helpline and generally answered by knowledgeable HMRC staff who can deal with more problematic cases.
The phone number is 0345 300 3946 and lines are open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
In 2009, HMRC set up a small team within the Customer Support and Service Group which deals with disputes, explanation requests and complaints from certain intermediaries. At this time, only letters from voluntary organisations who receive no payment for helping claimants will be routed through the team. More information about this process can be found in a Low Incomes Tax Reform Group press release.
Updated 14 April 2015
Last reviewed 28 June 2016