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Child Tax Credit overpayment


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Hi, got a problem! My partner has a child and is getting income support and is getting child tax credit, in july 09 I moved in with her and I wasnt working and went onto her income support as a couple, now as she had told them I had moved in and was then getting money as a couple she thought that was that, in Nov 09 I got a job and we told the benefit people and wasnt then getting any benefits at all on my single wage, then we got into contact reguarding working tax credit and we got a little amount of money, I lost my job in april 10.

Now HMRC are saying that there was an overpayment of £1048! now we was shocked and my partner phoned them up and they gave so much wrong information about how they came to the amount of over payment, they said the reason is because my partner didnt tell them I moved in until Nov 09, but they said that I moved in in June 09 which was wrong as i didnt move in until july 09, and they gave a breakdown of the amount of the amounts which totals £1069 but the letter they sent says £1048, but also the letter states 'We have sent you a notice showing an overpayment of tax credits for the period ending 29/06/2009' which is also confusing as i didnt move in until july 09!!!

Now my partner is scared as they keep threatening court action, but as far as i can see, how can there be a overpayment because she was on benefit and getting child tax credits for her daughter, then when i moved in she was still entitled to child tax credit as we was both on benefit, its not as if we got extra money that we wasnt entitled to, also as there are so many mistakes on what they are telling her, surley its a mistake and as they state if they make a mistake then you dont have to pay back the overpayment!


hope this makes sense because we need help!

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When a partner moves in, the claimant has to inform tax credit of this because they are no longer entitled to tax credit as a single person. Once tax credit are informed, the single claim ends and a joint claim has to be made. As this was not done, there is an overpayment which is applicable from the period that you moved in with her. What she would have been entitled to had she declared the change is irrelevant; child tax credit is not like child benefit - there is no set entitlement that a person is entitled to regardless of circumstances. The amount of entitlement is dependent on circumstances and income. Her circumstances were that she was claiming as a single person, receiving the single person's amount of IS. Her circumstances then changed in that she became coupled and began to receive couples rate of IS, so both her circumstances and income changed. When you moved in she was no longer entitled to tax credit as a single person. Entitlement ended the date you moved in and no entitlement would exist again until a joint claim was made. That's where the overpayment comes from.


What she can do, is ask them to take into consideration the amount she would have received, had she ended the single claim when she ought to have, and applied jointly with you. This could reduce the overpayment amount greatly, but they are not obliged to do this. Because she failed to inform of a relevant change of circumstances at the time, they are entitled to recover the money. They can also charge her a penalty on top for failing to declare a change in circumstances. Hopefully they won't do this.


The only mistake they have made is calculating the period of the overpayment. She should certainly dispute this, but she will still have to repay the amount from the date that you did move in - though as I said, she can ask them to consider the amount she would have got had she declared the change on time.

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.



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  • 3 weeks later...

HI Scooteris007


I have the same problem that is similar to yours but mine backdates to 2005 and 2006 when my partner and I started living together. They have threatened me court action now but I am in the process of appealing their decision again.


Recently I went to the Welfare Rights Bulletin 211, February 2010

which offers advice on overpayments in the form of notional offsetting. New rules came into effect from 18th January 2010 and offsets the underlying entitlement (what you could have got as a couple) against alleged overpayments (what you received as a single applicant)


This makes for very interesting reading because this new policy applies to overpayments before January 2010 and; to applicants who are in the process of disputing overpayments and; to those who have already repaid overpayments.


Despite ringing HMRC and them contacting me, they NEVER informed me of this. I had to find out for myself.


I hope this helps. Just mention Notional Offsetting.

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