Tax Credits: Contacting HMRC about tax credits
This section of the site gives you information about the different ways of contacting HMRC about tax credits. It also gives information about security procedures in place when contacting the tax credits helpline.
- Tax credit digital services
- By post
- Extra support service
- Translation services
- Useful tips when contacting HMRC
- Security arrangements
HMRC have an on-line service called the Personal Tax Account for all individuals to be able to transact with them digitally. The personal tax account is continually being developed and covers a variety of services provided right across HMRC lines of business, covering income tax, tax payments, self-assessment returns and it also includes the tax credit on-line service. The tax credit on-line service is called ‘Manage your tax credits’ and can be accessed either directly from Manage your tax credits, or via the personal tax account by following the links to the tax credit part of the personal tax account.
Claimants can manage their tax credits online through GOV.UK www.gov.uk/manage-your-tax-credits. Here they can report most changes of circumstances, find out how much their next payment will be and when it's due, and complete their renewal after they receive their renewal pack. Once they have completed their renewal declaration, claimants can also check the progress of their renewal.
Claimants can also use this to:
- Respond to a Check
- Dispute an Overpayment
- Request a Mandatory Reconsideration
- Inform HMRC that the recovery of an overpayment from their ongoing Tax Credits entitlement is causing them financial difficulty
Where HMRC have asked a claimant to send in items of paperwork or evidence, they will often invite the claimant to reply on-line and if so, claimants may be invited to attach up to 3 photographs of evidence at a time using the on-line service.
To use this service, tax credit claimants need to register with the Government Gateway service. Claimants can use their existing account if they already use Government Gateway for self-assessment, others will need to set up a Government Gateway account. Each time a person uses their Government Gateway account, they will need to have a mobile phone or landline telephone nearby to receive a unique 6-digit code which will be sent automatically to them as they ‘log-in’. The service is accessed via GOV.UK.
HMRC have withdrawn their webchat service for tax credits from 1 December 2021.
The HMRC App is available for people who have a compatible smart phone (android and I-phone). It is free to download from the ‘app store’ and provides a variety of digital services across HMRC lines of business. Tax credit claimants can check the amount and due date of their next payment using the App, and they can notify most changes of circumstances and complete their tax credit renewals.
Claimants can use fingerprint identification available on certain devices to enable them to access the App. HMRC does not receive or have access to any fingerprint data, the app makes use of features that are built into the user’s handset.
There is more information about the HMRC App on the GOV.UK website.
The main telephone number is the tax credit helpline: 0345 300 3900 (NGT text relay for anyone who cannot hear or speak on the phone: dial 18001 then 0345 300 3900). From abroad, you can ring +44 2890 538 192.
The helpline is open 8am-6pm, Mondays to Fridays (closed on weekends and Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day). These hours may change from time to time, so check GOV.UK for the latest opening hours.
The telephone line is very busy and HMRC say the best times to call are between 8.30 am and 10.30 am and 2pm to 4pm, Tuesdays to Thursdays.
HMRC use an automated response system to direct callers to the helpline (sometimes referred to as ITA). This is designed to help direct callers to relevant information on the GOV.UK website, provide basic generic messages which may help answer some queries and direct the call to an adviser who can help with the call query. The system relies on speech recognition and LITRG have produced a helpful guide to offer some useful hints and tips on using this system (please note the e-mail options to notify changes of name/address are not currently relevant for tax credits).
Callers to the helpline can be invited to sign-up for Voice ID. The claimant will be required to say a phrase five times to register for the service and when they call in future, they can be verified based on their voice.HMRC have published a privacy notice about how they use voice identification.
This number can be used to:
- Ask general advice
- Make a claim(see information on who can claim)
- Ask questions about a claim
- Find out about payments
- Tell HMRC about a change in circumstances
- Renew a claim
- Find out why a claim has been overpaid
- Make a complaint
Advisers who are from registered organisations can use the intermediaries helpline as an alternative to the helpline for a similar range of issues. More information can be found in our intermediaries section.
HMRC have provided some useful tips for people contacting them by post :
- use the right postcode and put the full postcode on the envelope, for example BX9 1AS
- put any identifiers such as tax credits reference or National Insurance number on the first page and make sure they’re clear and prominent
- only include supporting documents if they’ve been asked for or are needed
- don’t use the word ‘complaint’ unless it’s a genuine complaint
- make sure any print and post forms are complete and correct
- don’t include a covering letter, unless it adds value
Renewal forms should be sent to:
Tax Credit Office
HM Revenue and Customs
Change of circumstances
HMRC - Tax Credit Office
More information about reporting changes can be found in our how to notify changes section.
HMRC – Tax Credit Office
HMRC - Tax Credit Office
Once a dispute or complaint is received by HMRC, a letter should be sent acknowledging receipt and giving the claimant a named caseworker and direct dial number.
HMRC – Tax credit Office
- Responses to requests from HMRC for information about a new claim or change of circumstance
- Responses to requests from HMRC for information relating to renewals
- Responses and follow up correspondence relating to hardship requests (TC1133 and TC2036)
- Intermediaries, Agents and Appointees
HMRC – Tax Credit Office
Correspondence relating to the 2-child limit:
HMRC - Tax Credit Office
Responding to an HMRC check:
Use the address specified by HMRC on your letter
Using a courier
Use this address for all post items being delivered to HMRC to either a closed HMRC site, a PO BOX or BX postcode by couriers.
HM Revenue and Customs
Benton Park View
Newcastle Upon Tyne
HMRC do provide special services for those who need additional help – called the extra support service. A full list of all services is published on the GOV.UK website. HMRC have also published a set of principles of support for those who need extra help.
Claimants who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment and are unable to use the telephonee can use an online form to request a face to face appointment.
HMRC offer translation services to those whose first language isn’t English.
According to their information HMRC say:
'You can use a friend or family member as an interpreter when you phone HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
They must be over 16 and will need to be in the same room as you when you all HMRC.
You can also ask for information in another language using webchat.
HMRC may also be able to organise an interpreter for you.'
When dealing with overpayments, issues often arise about whether a claimant has reported a particular change or whether they have been given incorrect advice by HMRC. It is much easier to dispute an overpayment if the claimant has evidence of their contacts with the department. We recommend that claimants:
- Always keep a note of any telephone call or meeting with HMRC including the date, time and the name of the person they contacted along with a brief note of what was said.
- Send letters recorded delivery so that HMRC have to sign for the letter, or at least ask the Post Office for a proof of postage if they don’t wish to pay the extra for recorded delivery. It is also advisable to keep a copy of any letters (including enclosures) that are sent.
- Keep a file with copies of all tax credit forms, notices and letters together with any details used to fill in the claim form and calculations of how the figures were worked out.
HMRC use a security system on the tax credit helpline called IDAS (ID Authentication Service).
How does IDAS work?
IDAS uses information held by credit reference agency Experian, combined with HMRC’s own data to verify the callers identity.
The first time a claimant calls, they will be asked whether they consent to HMRC using Experian data. HMRC will need the claimants NINO, DOB and name at this point. If the claimant agrees to this, they will be asked questions based on the Experian data. The helpline advisers cannot see a full credit report, they will be prompted by the system with only certain questions based on that credit report. Questions will be things like ‘Who is your mobile phone contract with?’.
If the claimant does not consent, or there is not enough data from Experian to generate these questions, the claimant will be asked questions based on HMRC information drawn from various sources.
Once this process has been successfully passed, the claimant will be asked to set up some shared secrets which will be used to identify them on subsequent calls. If the claimant declines to set up shared secrets they will need to go through the whole process again on their next call.
How does IDAS affect intermediaries?
Intermediaries should not be asked to go through the IDAS process. It is for claimants only. The normal security questions for intermediaries (based on the TC689) and agents (64-8) should continue to be used.
If an intermediary does not have an authority in place, but has the claimant with them, the helpline will ask the claimant to go through the IDAS process. Once the security check is passed, the claimant can ask the helpline adviser to speak directly to the intermediary.
Last reviewed/updated 4 May 2023