Tax Credits: Obtaining information held by HMRC about a client

This section of the website explains how advisers can obtain information from HMRC in relation to tax credits.

One of the biggest difficulties with disputes is evidence. HMRC will often refuse to accept that a claimant has met their responsibilities if they cannot locate correspondence or telephone calls in support.

It is for this reason that it is beneficial for claimants to keep a file with copies of all tax credits correspondence. Claimants should keep copies of all letters sent to HMRC as well as detailed notes about any telephone calls including date, time, operator name and a brief description of the conversation.

Subject access requests (SAR)

Sometimes called ‘data protection requests’, this is a useful way to obtain copies of data from HMRC including printouts of household notes (the notes that helpline operators make during telephone calls), other award information (such as claim forms, renewals forms and letters the claimant has sent) and recordings of telephone calls.

The easiest way to make a request is using the online form on the HMRC website.

Requests can also be made in writing to:

TCO SAR Team
Group 7
Area F
Floor 1 St Marks House
ST Marys Street
Preston
Lancs
PR1 4AT

They can also be faxed to 03000 571 842.

Prior to December 2010, advisers could write to the TCO SAR Team attaching a copy of a TC689 consent form and ask for their client’s data. Since that date, the SAR Team have sent letters to advisers stating that this is no longer possible and written permission for SAR data to be sent to an adviser must be obtained, otherwise the data will be sent directly to the claimant.

Format of the request

The request should include:

Data is easier to obtain if the request is specific. It should include details of any claim forms, renewal forms, household notes and phone call recordings that the adviser wishes to receive along with the corresponding dates. If the exact date is not known, the next best thing is to give an approximate period or a tax year.

Delay by HMRC in providing data

The Data Protection Act requires HMRC to comply with a SAR request within 40 calendar days.

If HMRC delay in replying or the response is not adequate, you can write to the office that dealt with the request to complain. They should reply to this complaint within 10 working days.

If the response is not acceptable, or HMRC continue to delay providing the information, you should contact the Information Commissioner.

Updated 4 January 2017