Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance: Making a complaint
As HMRC administer child benefit and guardian’s allowance, complaints follow their normal complaints process which is outlined briefly on the GOV.UK website.
A complaint is generally about the way your client has been treated, unlike an appeal which is against a decision which has been made on a child benefit claim. A complaint may take the form of an unreasonable delay, a mistake which could have been avoided, poor or misleading advice, the use of discretion, inappropriate staff behaviour or more generally how your client has been treated. Your client may be able to claim back reasonable costs caused by the child benefit office's mistakes such as postage, phone calls and professional fees. They may also be entitled to a redress payment for things such as worry or distress. Full details can be found in HMRC’s Complaints and Remedy Guidance.
In the first instance, complaints should be made to the child benefit office. Your client can do this in a number of ways:
- Email - by completing an on-line enquiry form - the claimant will need to use their Government Gateway details to sign in
- Phone - by calling the child benefit helpline on 0300 200 3100 or guardian’s allowance unit on 0300 322 9080
- Letter - by writing to the child benefit office or guardian’s allowance unit - put 'Complaint' at the top of the letter
HM Revenue and Customs - Child Benefit Office
PO Box 1
Newcastle Upon Tyne
HM Revenue and Customs - The Guardian's Allowance Unit
Child Benefit Office
PO Box 1
Newcastle upon Tyne
If the reply received from HMRC is still not satisfactory, your client can ask them to look at the complaint again. This is often called a ‘Tier 2’ complaint and is usually dealt with by the child benefit office Director's Complaints Team. You contact them in the same way as above but make sure that you address the complaint to the Director of child benefit or the Director’s Complaint Team.
If the response from the Tier 2 complaint is still not satisfactory, a further complaint can be made to the Adjudicator’s Office and onwards to the Parliamentary Ombudsman via your client's MP. More information about the escalation routes can be found in the equivalent tax credits sections.
Last reviewed/updated 5 May 2023