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Tax Credits overpayment - HMRC unwilling to resolve issues


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Hi all, I am new to the forum but my credit to all out there for the help and support you give in the fight for fairness and justice. Sorry people if this may seem long but our case seems a little different to most as I will explain and quite complex. I can only try my best to keep it as short as possible.

 

I am writing on behalf of my wife as we are now at a loss of where to take this fight. Is there any chance of taking HMRC to court? We dont think we can as it is a government organisation.

 

The case goes back to 2004 and is in relation to an alleged overpayment. This overpayment does not exist and we believe that we have proved it but HMRC refuse point blank to listen to reason. Over the years it has caused my wife a great deal of distress and impacted on her health :mad:

She has both written and telephoned on countless occassions but the case is simply shifted from one department to another to deal with, which now is in double figures and the number of personnel that has been involved is ridiculous. Yes we have kept all communications by us and them. They have given a number of contradictions for the overpayment including: she did not return the claim form at all by the due date and she did return the form but it was not signed by her ex partner! Thats right, ex partner. She had already notified them of a change in circumstances and had also returned the forms as requested. To return a form incorrectly showing a true account of her circumstances would amount to a fraudulent claim. Their own literature shows this. Anyway, she firmly denied allegations made and we have letters by their own employees contradicting themselves. It is very clear and can be evidenced that they can not show any overpayment. At the time of this alleged claim by HMRC, my wife , single at that time, was on income support and due to new work commitments was advised to come off income support and apply for tax credits. This claim was put together by the local DWP manager himself. Ironically, she has a letter from the local DWP stating that they cannot see any overpayment at all, which would have shown on their systems. There was no overlap between coming off income support and receiving tac credits.

 

The dispute continued and staff at HMRC became rude and dis interested. Eventually, they took her to court adamant that she had to repay an overpayment. I put all the evidence together which clearly shows negligence within their own organisation. The appeal and complaints procedure seemed to be non existant when we have a very strong case. Court date came, which was both terrifying and distressing for my wife who was made to feel like a common criminal. The representative from HMRC arrived with no knowledge of the case and no case papers and after a very brief discussion wanted to drop the case there and then. We went into court. The judge eventually ruled that she should be afforded the opportunity to go down the complaints route and the court hearing was adjourned.

We went down this route but again it simply did not exist. All the evidence which we collated was supplied to HMRC but they still ignored this a re iterated that they will still go to court. At no point were they willing to consider any of the facts. After that point and numerous communications between each party we waited for the court date again. HMRC being very consistent failed to attend, They then went on to miss a further two court dates. This is strange since they are absolutely adamant that there was an overpayment and they had a strong case. Prior to the last court date we submitted to the Judge residing a full defence. The Judge gave them 7 days to return any sort of answer or the case would be struck out, which they failed to do so the case was struck out.

We thought this was the end but the harassment continued. They then stated that they could still take her to court no matter what happened in court if they belived they had a case. Since then the local MP got involved and began to write. They forwarded the same standard letters as before stating they had a case but with no real evidence. The MP chose then to step aside accepting the standard letter as an answer which was ludicous. The problem we have is that we have written evidence to show inconsistency and negligence and we believe that the case is so messy now that one is willing to associate themselves or take any responsibility for it.

As soon as the MP stepped aside, the case was suddenly shipped out to yet another department in Ireland. This case has been all over the UK. Our last communication with them was to have the case returned to court so that she can at least fight her case and maybe get some kind of compensation for the distress this has caused. We are not holding our breath here. We have also found out that the case in Ireland has been allocated to yet another department but they were unable to locate which one it is. So now mysteriously our case file has dissappeared. We have very little hope of this being sorted but it is still likely that they will start to pusue her again even though they already took this to court with no evidence.

 

There all done, so sorry that this was long but we left so much out. If any of you guys has any idea as to what steps we may be able to take we would really appreciate this. She deserves some justice in court and def some compensation. I was thinking of contacting the local conservative MP but not sure if that would make any difference. Just want this organisation to take some responsibility as there are lots of other innocent parties out there.

 

Look forward to any help. I will say that we have put together a good case and have all the letters etc.

 

Thanks.

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In the first place, if their claim has been struck out the matter is decided and they will be estopped from persuing it again (Conquer v Boot).

 

Secondly, government departments are not immune from lawsuits.

 

What you would be looking to prove in any action you bring against them is

 

- That a duty of care existed

- That they breached that duty

- That damage arose from the breach

- And that that damage was not too remote.

 

Then again, from what youv'e said maybe they won't even show at the hearing. ;)

Please note nothing I say constitutes legal advice.

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Hello, this just a quick question to anyone able to help. I have a similar problem (although not taken as far) and was wondering where the correct place to ask for help. Should I start a new thread or post in this one?

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Hi guys, sorry I took a while to get back I have been dealing with other consumer issues as well including CAPQUEST and a none existent debt. Thanks to everyone on this site. A result with this one. Will post info on relevant thread soon. Also currently dealing with UKCPS over parking ticket. again will keep informed soon.

 

I will try the MP approach again. I am currently writing a letter to see if they will intervene. Will also continue to chase compensation for the distress caused. Who Knows, but any approach will do. Thanks peterlucas, case info may be useful.

 

In relation to the court case been struck out by the Judge, the reply from Tax credits after the fact was that it did not matter what the Judge decided, if they believed they still had a right to pursue the claim they would. Yes they were quite rude and also showed little regard for the court system. Incidentally, the Judge was incensed by the amount of tax credits cases being brought to court with little evidence or the defendant not been given the right to follow a complaints procedure. Their representative at court turned up with no case file whatsoever. Apparently this is the way they conduct things. Totally unprofessional so if you do have to attend court after being given a court date and you believe you have a defense, please make sure you submit to court your defense before the hearing and address it to the judge residing. At least then it will not be adjourned so quickly as our case was and will place tax credits in sticky position as they do not turn up prepared.

 

will keep you updated. Cheers all again.

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hi cant help much but gonna watch this thread as mum is having similar probs with the company.

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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regretably the rules of evidence as far as I understand as far as the crown is concerned that the certificate that they produce in court is sufficient evidence for judment to be entered into unless it can be proved wholly wrong. This requires indisputable proof from the defendant. This is why they often turn up in court with hardly any papers becuase it is the defendant's role to prove the certificate wrong.

 

if they have failed to turn up in court , you must seek advice as to whether you can apply for the case to be stuck out. Failure to turn up in court without good reason may be a reason for the case to be dismissed

 

There are various links on the internet which lead to this .

 

There is an adjudicator for HMRC http://www.adjudicatorsoffice.gov.uk/archive2.htm - 7k

 

PDF]

The Adjudicator’s Office for complaints about HM Revenue & Customs ...

 

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML

The role of the Adjudicator’s

 

hope this helps but seek proper legal advice and look up the appropriate acts on the internet , Taxes management act Social security Act,learn how to navigate the round the acts :!: this is given without any responsilbity but based on some experience

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Thanks exit 3. I will look at the adjudicators site to see how this can progress. I have read about the certificates they produce in court and my understanding is that if it is produced in court the judge will automatically award the case to the HMRC. Seems unfair but this has happened in other cases. The only way to stop this is to make sure you halt the court case by stating that you have not exhausted the complaints process and that the complaint has not been resolved and other avenues have still to be looked at. This will allow you time to exhaust all avenues. The adjudicators is one avenue and the parliamentary ombudsman another I believe. This has a long way to go yet.

 

In this case, they did not produce the certificate in court as we requested the right to go down the complaints route. After numerous chances at court the HMRC failed to produce any case against us. We submitted a full defence. The case was stuck out by the judge.

 

You would think that would be the end of this but our case file is still being looked at somewhere?? They are not sure which department has it. Yep, they seem to have lost the file. Well, at least they are consistent!

 

Will update soon as I hear from MP.

 

Thanks again everyone

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Thanks exit 3. I will look at the adjudicators site to see how this can progress. I have read about the certificates they produce in court and my understanding is that if it is produced in court the judge will automatically award the case to the HMRC. Seems unfair but this has happened in other cases. The only way to stop this is to make sure you halt the court case by stating that you have not exhausted the complaints process and that the complaint has not been resolved and other avenues have still to be looked at. This will allow you time to exhaust all avenues. The adjudicators is one avenue and the parliamentary ombudsman another I believe. This has a long way to go yet.

 

In this case, they did not produce the certificate in court as we requested the right to go down the complaints route. After numerous chances at court the HMRC failed to produce any case against us. We submitted a full defence. The case was stuck out by the judge.

 

You would think that would be the end of this but our case file is still being looked at somewhere?? They are not sure which department has it. Yep, they seem to have lost the file. Well, at least they are consistent!

 

Will update soon as I hear from MP.

 

Thanks again everyone

if the case was struck out they would have to apply to have it reinstated which they have done so. They would normally have to do that promptly for it to be considered. As time has passed, It might be difficult for them to do so, but the courts often give the other party the benefit of the doubt .However if they have lost the file how can they prove your defence and reinstate the case ?!!! Tactically might it be best to seek total dismissal of the case and for the case to be vacated with no right of appeal and your costs paid by adjudication! I do not know the procedural route on how one goes ahead with this but it seems a common sense approach, the adjudicators office may help:cool:

exit3

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if the case was struck out they would have to apply to have it reinstated which they have done so. They would normally have to do that promptly for it to be considered. As time has passed, It might be difficult for them to do so, but the courts often give the other party the benefit of the doubt .However if they have lost the file how can they prove your defence and reinstate the case ?!!! Tactically might it be best to seek total dismissal of the case and for the case to be vacated with no right of appeal and your costs paid by adjudication! I do not know the procedural route on how one goes ahead with this but it seems a common sense approach, the adjudicators office may help:cool:

exit3

Look up the national audit's office statistics of the reveneu mistakes its quite a colossal amount.:cool:
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Look up the national audit's office statistics of the reveneu mistakes its quite a colossal amount.:cool:
a further thought if you feel yu have suffered harrassment then you may have a case against HMRC under the protection of Harrassment Act 1997 . The:cool: act can be downloaded on the internet and the abuse only as far as I can understand have to happen only twice for a case to stand. However this may reinstate the case as they would really have to defend their actions!
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  • 8 months later...

OK I apologise for not posting on this thread sooner but have been so busy and stressed with this that I neglected to keep you guys up to date. There has been some changes recently, which you need to know about.

 

PARTIAL VICTORY WITH THIS CASE AS HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS ADMIT MISTAKES HAVE BEEN MADE AND HAVE CEASED TO PURSUE FOR THE ALLEGED OVERPAYMENT. COURT COSTS HAVE ALSO BEEN CLEARED!:D

 

Unfortunately, we have had no apology at all and they seem to want to walk away from any accountability.

 

It has been over 4 and half years so far in this fight with tax credits and finally they have made too many mistakes, which they can no longer hide or avoid. As I previously mentioned they took us to court over an alleged overpayment. The courts gave them 4 opportunities to present any kind of case, which they neglected to do. This is very common as they attend court without evidence and do not expect people to actually turn up. The actual complaints procedure is useless and to be honest non existent as no one is willing to take responsibility for any case if you submit a defense against the overpayment. After the case was actually struck out by the judge they continued to harass for the overpayment with more threats of court action and court costs added on. As mentioned by previous posts this is harassment and an offence in law as their course of conduct has resulted in harassment, alarm and distress. By law you only need more than one occurence to complete the offence.

They had no right to pursue the case after it was struck out by the judge. This has now been confirmed by one of their own managers from a debt management department within this organisation. The manager actually confirmed this after consulting with a county court specialist. They also confirmed that our case is not unique, in fact they stated that this happens quite a lot so we are not alone. If the case is struck out by a judge and they continue to pursue they are very much in the wrong. In fact, in our case, they have broken the law! On their own systems it showed a catalogue of mistakes and also showed that we were trying to resolve the case at every step and they simply did not keep in communication with us forcing us to call them or write to them at every step. (It is very important to keep all your documentation and a log of the calls and who you have spoken to guys which will help with your defense). The management have stated that this is grossly unfair and that we have more than reason to pursue compensation for the disgraceful treatment. They even suggested contacting our MP to pursue the complaint as this would be the best option for change. It is ironic, but the department we dealt with is one of their best performing departments for sorting out overpayment claims. They stated that many departments have already been closed and theirs too was earmarked for closure. They wanted MP's involved to affect change within this organisation because they understand it is not working. If these departments go no one has a chance of getting anything resolved!

So after all these years we have some sort of result although nothing has happened to prevent this from happening again to anyone else. They have broken the law yet are still not been held accountable for thier actions. This is not over yet as I have now just made a formal complaint against them over the apauling way they have treated us.

Initially, the MP who originally got involved accepted their excuse that they had not made any mistakes without fully looking at all the evidence, which is considerable and walked away leaving us to fight alone. MP's have a responsibility to their constituents particularly when they are being mistreated in this manner. We have again approached the same MP in the hope that he will now see the gross errors made by HM Revenue &Customs and will take our complaint to the top. The way they treat people is disgraceful and they do need to be held accountable for their actions when they regularly, as pointed out by their own management, destroy peoples lives.

The MP should have our complaint by today so we will wait for response to see if we will be heard and maybe compensated for 4 and a haly years of abuse and harassment. I will keep you up to date with this as I will not let this go. It has been a long time but the pressure is on them now. If your in a situation similar with tax credits just do not give up. They will make errors. They are pretty consistent with this.

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Dear Hugg

 

This is very useful information. Our poisition is slightly different but a mistakes was made way back. We are for the moment mving amicably with the revenue but on legal advice we could claim costs .Please keep me posted exit 3

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  • 3 weeks later...

dear exit3

 

Hope it goes well for you. Had a reply from MP. Our case has now gone to the ajudicators office. This I believe is an external board so the next reply should be interesting. Submitted a pretty comprehensive case history to them showing an appauling track record of mistakes. Looking forward to seeing how this pans out, particularly that H M Revenue & Customs have actually committed an offence of Harassment, confirmed by one of their own departments. Will keep you posted. Not sure how long we will have to wait for a reply. Hope your case is better. Just remember if they forward your case onto other departments they will not keep a record of everything. Pretty consistent here.

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  • 2 months later...

H M Revenue & Customs finally accept liability after almost 5 years of fighting. :D This has been a long journey but it is finally over.

In my last post I stated that the case had been sent to the adjudicators which it did with support from our local MP. However, HM Revenues & Customs stated incorrectly to the adjudicators office that they had not had chance to deal with the complaint so it went back to their department. This was very underhanded as we had complained over our horrendous treatment on no less than 2 occassions previously. The case was then dealt with by a higher complaints manager. The conclusion being reached that they were in fact wrong in their actions. The result was that we were granted compensation for all the expenses, distress and the poor handling of our complaint along with a full apology!

This is great news and shows that you should never give up if you are sure that you are right. Keep fighting the injustice.

 

The main points with our case with the alleged overpayment is as follows.

  • We fully disputed the overpayment and submitted evidence. We kept everything they sent and identified mistakes throughout all their correspondence.
  • They were relentless in pursuit as most of you will have experienced and just ignored all the evidence submitted. They eventually took my wife to court. Prior to the court hearing we disputed the case against us and submitted a full defense to the magistrate. We were granted the right to appeal through HM Revenue & Customs complaints procedure which we did fully.
  • The complaint this time was about the treatment we had being subjected to as well as the alleged overpayment.
  • Complaint was not really heard at any point and was shipped from department to department. No one took responsibility.
  • Case came back to court. They did not submit any evidence against us. Court gave them 2 more chances to state if they were going to continue and warned them they would strike out the case if not.
  • They did not supply any response so the case was struck out.
  • They continued with court threats and the pursuit.
  • Further complaints made through local MP. This is a good way of being heard as they tend to take more notice.
  • They still were adamant they had not made any errors so we submitted a further complaint over years of emotional abuse and harassment to MP again and the case went to the adjudicators and finally back to tax credits higher complaints manager who judged mistakes were made and granted full compensation.

That was a quick summary. They were always adamant that the overpayment was due without providing any solid evidence which is apaulling and continued to ignore us at every stage and continued to pursue us.

The big error here for them was the fact they had a chance to put their case to court but couldn't so the case was stuck out. Any pursuit after that was not legal as identified by their own county court specialists. If a case is struck out then they have lost. They simply did not prove their case against us in the time set aside by the courts. They gave them 4 chances in total and every one was ignored. This means that their pursuit after that fact which caused us alrm and distress was harassment. They had no right to do this and as I stated this was proved by their own court specialists.

The dramatic climb down and our vindication after 5 years in our opinion was simply to avoid the investigation by the adjudicators office. I have to say that support from our local MP did make a difference. You just have to be persistent when you request their support. As I have mentioned we had to request his intervention on more than one occassion and they are obliged to represent their constituents. We have had promises by the higher management that their own procedures and the issues raised will be looked at in relation to the way they have handled things as it was simply not acceptable. Hopefully, this may help change things for others who are in a similar position. I have also asked that the MP remain in the loop so as to monitor things to ensure that changes are made.

 

Just remember to complain about the way you are treated seperately from any overpayment dispute as they may simply ignore this. This way they cannot say they have not had chance to answer your complaint when you go to the adjudicators office. It will strengthen your case. If you do go to the adjudicators then be prepared for a long wait as they have recieved an unprecedented amount of complaints about tax credits and HM Revenues & Customs. The average wait is about 11 months for the case to be allocated and about 7 weeks further for it to be investigated. This is confirmed by the adjudicators office. Still DO NOT give up! It took us 5 years but It has now given them a headache they deserve. The only downside is that they have wasted a phenominal amount of tax payers money. Yes I did raise this issue with the MP. Good luck everyone who is still fighting. If you need any specific info about our case I will be more than happy to reply.:grin:

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Brilliant, Huggy, what a victory! It must be a huge relief for you and your wife and I hope the compensation is what you deserve.

 

It just shows that it's worth fighting and using their own system to prove how these people make mistakes. I went through a lesser version of this with Atos. I hope this will encourage all those on this forum who are waiting for an Atos hearing.

 

Well done again, Huggy

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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