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    • The state-backed savings giant has been accused of abandoning older customers in its drive to axe prize warrants to save money and paper by only consulting customers with an email about the change. View the full article
    • Savers who put £10,000 in the average tax-free cash Isa ten years ago would now have £9,772, new research shows. This is because inflation has outstripped the interest earned on savings. View the full article
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Hillards V HMRC (Working Tax Credits), passed to Rossendales


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A familiar story from the threads I've been reading, but ours has a twist that I hope someone can advise on.

 

Over several years we claimed Working Tax Credits because my wife's full-time salary is low and for many years I was working on limited part time contracts or as a volunteer. Each year we submitted the forms to HMRC and they agreed we should receive WTC. At no point have we tried to withhold information or cheat the system and there had been no suggestion from them that we did - but they still claim to have overpaid us!

 

In June/July 2013 we had two letters from 'Debt Management and Banking' at HMRC to advise that we had been paid too much tax credits. This was for period ended 2006, 2007 and 2009. We don't have any record of what we submitted in those years now.

 

I called HMRC and the lady I spoke to agreed to put the matter on hold as I explained that I was chronically sick, on ESA and DLA, and that we were still receiving WTC due to our low joint income. The man I spoke to at HMRC today agreed that those notes were on the system but that they had carried out a review in June this year and passed the matter to debt collection. He says we should have had a letter, we've not had one. We would always respond to anything like that and get in touch to sort it out.

 

I remember that I had made some notes last year, based on reading about WTC debt, where HMRC would write off such debt if a person was never going to work again through illness. I've no idea where those notes are now, possibly discarded after being on my desk for months.

 

I've seen other threads where the advice is not to ring the DCA (I already knew that) and not to give them I&E information (I knew that too). What I can't do with is the stress of endless phone calls and letters, possibly callers to the door, while they attempt to make me pay. Yes, I know about sending them the 'do not call me' letter, but I'm already quite frantic about this and do not want to end up in hospital, or worse, through their activities.

 

The many at HMRC refused to do anything other than insist I speak to the debt collectors. He seems to think that their one letter in June was the end of it, and as we didn't receive it we were blissfully unaware until Rossendales sent their letter. That's dated 24th July and gave us 7 days to pay in full, it only arrived on August 7th !

 

I have sent my MP the same information as above, to keep her informed of what's going on.

 

In our situation we cannot afford to pay. We have told HMRC that previously and they accepted that, deferring the debt and saying I should contact them if I return to work. I explained last year that that was not going to be happening but she said she could not revoke it at that time. I was given the impression that they would contact me after 6 months to look at my circumstances again, but that didn't happen.

 

We are still in receipt of WTC after sending in the annual claim form for 2014-5. That in itself should tell HMRC we cannot afford to repay ?

 

Any suggestions ?

 

My own thoughts would be to write to HMRC and go over the info above, the guy on the phone accepted what I said but told me that he could do nothing now it was in the hands of external debt collectors. I think that's rubbish.

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Being in receipt of tax credits currently will not stop then from recovering the overpayment.

 

However normally when you have an ongoing claim they will reduce your award to recover the overpayment at either 10%, 25% or 100% depending on the level of your award.

 

Have you actually established the reason for the overpayments?

 

You mentioned that you do not have the records from the periods in question. They can issue copies of all awards notices from that time. This can be done by phone.

 

You can also submit a subject access request for copies of all calls made, forms submitted etc

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The conversation I had last year with them was to request that the debt be written off under financial hardship rules. They agreed to defer any action at that point, but have now passed it to debt collection, which i disagree with as the bloke I spoke to was adamant he could not do anything about it and I had to speak to the DCA. That's not going to happen.

 

I referred mainly to this: http://www.revenuebenefits.org.uk/tax-credits/guidance/how-to-deal-with-hmrc/dealing-with-debt/#Financial hardship

and the section headed "Claimants who are unemployed with no assets or savings"

 

I am not working due to disability with a chronic illness, I will never work again. I have a small pension but everything combined is still below the working tax credits threshold.

 

The overpayments seem to have been for periods where we informed them of short term part time work I did under grant funding. They made no adjustments at the time but then claimed to have overpaid us when we submitted P60's etc.

Be good to those who give you advice that helps - click the star to give them your thanks by way of a reputation credit.

 

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