Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance: Obtaining information held by HMRC
If you or your client ask for information about your client, then the request will be handled under the Data Protection Act 1998. Requests to see records and other related information are known as ‘subject access requests’.
Personal information can be contained in paper, computer records and telephone recordings.
- How to make a request for information
- How long does it take?
- What does it cost?
- How will you receive the information?
- What if you are not satisfied with the response?
- Proof of child benefit entitlement
You can do a Subject Access Request via an online form on the GOV.UK website.
Or write to:
The Data Protection Officer
HM Revenue and Customs - Child Benefit Office
PO Box 1
Newcastle Upon Tyne
- Name of adviser
- Address and contact details of the adviser
- that you're making a ‘subject access request’ under the data protection act 1998
- that you have authority to act on behalf of your client. You should include a copy of the TC689 as well as a separate authorisation allowing you to request data on the client’s behalf.
- Your clients (the child benefit claimant’s) name, address, date of birth, child benefit reference number and their national insurance number
- a description of the information or documentation that you want (or if you don’t know what you’re looking for you can make a request for all the information they hold relating to your client, although this may take longer)
- if you want recordings of telephone calls that your client made to the child benefit helpline or guardian’s allowance unit, it may be beneficial to provide dates, times and the number from which your client contacted them.
You should get a response within 40 days. If HMRC need more information, such as dates and times of telephone calls, they have to ask you for the information they need. They can then wait until they have all the necessary information before dealing with your request. See below if there is a delay.
HMRC have said that they will not charge for SAR requests.
When you make a request you can ask that the information is given to you in a particular way. For example, you can ask for paper or electronic copies of original documents or you can ask for a summary of them. You can also ask to inspect specific documents.
However, the child benefit office may take into account the cost of supplying the information in this form before complying with your request.
If your request for information is:
- they do not respond to your request within 40 days
- you are not satisfied with their response
You should first ask the child benefit office to review their decision, or in the case of non-response send them a reminder letter.
If you do not get a reply fairly quickly, or you think the information you receive is wrong or incomplete, you can complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). This is an independent body that promotes access to official information and protects personal information. If information has been wrongly withheld, the ICO can order it to be released.
You can use the ICO online form to tell them of your concerns.
HMRC have issued a letter to Local Authorities advising that they will no longer provide claimants with written evidence of their child benefit entitlement.
There is some information on the GOV.UK website about proof of child benefit. Claimants can use bank statements, showing child benefit payments or tax credit award notices.
In spring 2023, HMRC launched a new digital service enabling parents and carers to prove they have a valid claim to Child Benefit and view their last five Child Benefit payment dates on GOV.UK.
Parents and carers often need proof of entitlement to Child Benefit for housing benefit, council tax, and other services. Previously, this information could have taken up to ten days to receive from HMRC but is now immediately available online.
Claimants can request a child benefit entitlement letter from HMRC by contacting them directly or via their Personal Tax Account.
HMRC state that DWP have advised them that evidence of child benefit should only be sought from the claimant where there is doubt. DWP encourage sight of bank statements or tax credit award notices where evidence is needed.
Last reviewed/updated 5 May 2023