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New code of practice on tax credit overpayment recovery


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Further to Treasury Minister Jane Kennedy having announced last autumn that the tax credit 'reasonable belief test' would be replaced, the Revenue has today published an extensively rewritten version of its 'COP 26' code of practice.

With the Parliamentary Ombudsman Anne Abraham having said, in her report Tax Credits: Getting it wrong?, that the Revenue's application of COP 26 - that governs Revenue decisions on the recovery of tax credit overpayments - was unfair and unreasonable, Ms Kennedy told Parliament that the 'very disliked' reasonable belief test would be replaced -

 

'... with a clearer test ... that will lead to a fairer allocation of responsibilities between the customer and the Department.'

 

To this end, whilst COP 26 had stated that for the Revenue to write off an overpayment a claimant was required to show both that it had occurred due to official error and that they had a reasonable belief that their payments had been correct, the new version instead lists the responsibilities that both the claimant and the Revenue are expected to fulfil, and states that, for example -

 

* if you fulfil all of your responsibilities but we have failed in ours, we won't ask you to pay back all of the overpayment arising from our failure;

* you must report any errors on your award notice within a month of receiving it (but) if you do then you won't be responsible for any overpayment which has occurred because of our error;

* we may write off parts of an overpayment if we have failed to meet one or more responsibilities but you have also failed to meet yours; and

* we may not ask you to pay back an overpayment if you contacted us to tell us your difficult personal circumstances meant you could not check your award notice or bank payments.

 

The revised Code of Practice 26 (COP 26) is available here: HM Revenue & Customs: COP 26 - What happens if we have paid you too much tax credit?

 

 

from rightsnet - the welfare rights website for advice workers

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  • 8 months later...

does anyone know where to get help with an overpayment of taxcredit for the amount of about 40000 pounds so the tax office says. I cannot afford to pay any of this back and most of this was for childcare although the carer did not say this. I am in a big mess

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  • 5 weeks later...

the tax credits were paying my child minder through myself an amount of £250 pound per week the child minder say i only pay her £50 so i have been told to pay back the £40000 overpayment by the tax office as i had to go and see them . HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET OUT OF THIS ONE. I do not use the childminder anymore

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does anyone know where to get help with an overpayment of taxcredit for the amount of about 40000 pounds so the tax office says. I cannot afford to pay any of this back and most of this was for childcare although the carer did not say this. I am in a big mess

 

I've moved this and your other 2 posts to your thread "Overpayment"

 

linkhttp://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/benefits-tax-credits-minimum/166153-overpayment.html#post1838286

 

Someone should be along soon to advise you.

Please note: I have no qualifications in this area and any advice offered is given in good faith.

 

 

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/publications/Ombudsman-news/40/40_setoff.htm

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* you must report any errors on your award notice within a month of receiving it (but) if you do then you won't be responsible for any overpayment which has occurred because of our error;

 

 

And this means what, exactly? "Any errors" can cover a whole range of things. If it means for example, personal details, like how many children, what their ages are, working hours, annual income, childcare fees - then fair enough.

 

But if they are asking customers to report the amount of the award if they think it is wrong and the other details are correct, this is asking the impossible. Unless everyone is trained in every aspect of Tax credits, every circumstance, every avenue, how can the layman possibly know how much their award should be? A layman would only query an award if his or her circumstances had not changed or changed only slightly and the award value had risen by a significant sum, which would be so huge it would seem inconsistent with the change of circumstances. Otherwise we have no way of knowing.

 

If all details we have provided are correct and we are still overpaid - that should be the end of it. We cannot be held responsible for their errors in calculations whether human error, computer error or otherwise. We have to sign a declaration that all the information we have provided is factual. The officers in tax credits should take ownership of their own mistakes, after all if we deliberately told big fat, hugely unbelievable lies on our applications, who would be prosecuted? Us? Or the staff for not having a "reasonable belief" that we were telling porkies? Erm us. We have to take responsibility for the information we provide. They should take responsibility for competently training their staff, and take responsibility if they overpay us because they calculated it incorrectly.

 

At the end of the day if our award notices hold infomation about us that is correct but the award is not correct - their fault, not ours.

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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