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Beside myself with worry - TC fraud


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I wrote a huge long detailed post but am aware these can be viewed via google (that's how I found this site) and am so so scared.


my husband died in a terrible work accident in 2008 and there was no body.

I was left with our 2 small children and you can imagine how awful and difficult it was.


We'd claimed TC on his pretty low income (I also had a self employed pocket money job but mainly was stay at home mum),

and it was extremely difficult for me to sort out his affairs as I I couldn't easilly get a death cert without his body. It was a horrific time.


We got a charitable payout from his work (which didn't count as taxable income) and lived on this, the rolling TC's and kindness of friends/family.


in 2009 after some 10 months I got an interim death cert and I also got more freelance work

so informed TC accordingly of estimated pay and hours and sent them the death cert.

Also around this time my husband's body was found - it was so traumatic

I can't tell you but that's not an excuse for my behaviour.


I am not making excuses for what I’m about to post next or excuse my actions

but I cannot begin to describe the trauma we endured and the effect on me and how really,

I didn’t place any importance on money stuff – just surviving.


I've also suffered increasing anxities and depression and after years of meltdowns in the Drs,

I was recently referred to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with a mental health condition

(he says brougt on by trauma) and given medication. Again, this is no excuse but just some background.


I think I have committed TC fraud but I don’t know the extent.

I began to emerge from the ‘fog’ a bit probably around 2012

and only recently am I realising the whole horror of my potential negligence.


So here is what I think I may have done.


- Not declared my widowed parents allowance from when I got it in 2009 to 2013

(I am not sure when I told my accountant I got it).



I think I have just told TC of my income from 2009 – 2013

but WPA totals about £2800 each year.


- Not properly declared all my correct income

– this is so irresponsible I CANNOT believe I would ever have behaved so recklessly

but I can’t describe how little importance I placed on all this – I just can’t get my head round why I was so laissez fair about it all.


I think I have a fuzzy recollection of just doing my annual declarations from memory

and the TC person asking “has anything changed?” and me replying casually, “Oh no, it’s all the same.”

I just had no idea of the importance of accuracy and guessed at it based loosely on memory of previous years.


I started to get my act together a couple of years ago and I do know for sure is that for the last two financial years, my claim has been totally accurate

. It may even be 3 years of accuracy but my record keeping has been so slapdash that I have no idea.


I rang to do my annual renewal ‘properly’ yesterday and during the process the person said, that something had flagged up that needed checking back to 2012-13.


After the call I dug about for any paper work for that period but couldn’t find any so started started panicking about what it could be

and whether I had declared my pension.



I phoned TC straight away and said I was worried about whether they had had my pension figures for last few years

but the woman SO unhelpful and said she couldn’t check and those years had been ‘signed off’ anyway.


I kept saying, “But if I’ve done something wrong please can you tell me how I can go about putting it right?”

She just told me there was nothing I could do now.

I begged to speak to someone else who could help me but she said there wasn’t anyone.


I have been sobbing ever since, filled with terror that I have now with that call aroused suspicion on top of these sinister sounding ‘checks’

they tell me they need to do. I’ve read you can go to prison for 7 years.


I am trying to take control and have today ordered bank statements back to 2010 and asked my accountant for copies of my tax return

s and accounts from 2009 to present (he does my returns not me)

and I really need copies of my WFTC award notices from 2010 to see if the figures correspond but what do I do if they don’t?



I am desperate to put this right and terrified beyond belief of going to prison and my kids who have already lost so much, losing me too.


I can’t eat or sleep and even phoned the Samaritans today as just felt so worthless, ashamed and broken.

My poor children are so innocent and look to me to teach them right from wrong

but I am so shabby and shameful i don't feel fit to be their mother.



I want to ‘own up’ but I don’t know the extent or exactly what I may or may not have done.


I keep thinking of all the other knock on implications like the free prescriptions I have got over the years

and local authority passes to swimming pool we get in this area if on TCs.


My children also get a charitable monthly payment from my a charity related to my husband’s work that is means tested

and if I have committed fraud then there is all this to consider too.


Since 2009 to present the total WFTC/CTC payments have come to something like £48,500.

If I thought selling my house and giving all the money back to TCs would solve the problem I would but I know it is not that easy.


Is there anyone who can help me untangle this mess and put it right? Thank you.


ps is there any way we can delete threads if we are worried about what we may have publically disclosed?

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Hello and welcome to CAG. We have people who can help you, please bear with us until they're able to get here.


You've been through a lot and it's brave of you to come here and tell us your story. I know anxiety and depression do to you through personal experience. You're taking the first steps and I think honesty is the best policy from now.


From what I've read here, tax credits don't send people to prison, but you will need to pay back any overpayment at an affordable rate. Others who know more will tell you what to do next.


In answer to your last question, you can't delete your own thread. But everything you've said is anonymous so I don't think anyone is going to identify you. But if you want us to help you, we need the information.


My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum




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I urgently want to disclose any possible wrong doing before I am 'found out' but I am not sure exactly what i may have done. My accountant hasn't replied yet and I can't talk to TCs til I have his reply and my bank statements and can hazard a guess as to the extent of what I have done. Or maybe I should just tell them all this? How far can they go back? Thank you.

I would gladly repay everything they have ever paid me and never claim again. If I sold my house I could repay everything. Maybe I should tell them that?

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Hello again.


Can we slow down a bit please? :) I wouldn't rush into selling my house if I could be allowed pay the money off over time. Shall we see what the people in the know think?



Illegitimi non carborundum




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Tax credits do have rules about making changes for previous years. Once you do your renewal your claim for the last year is finalised and they can only change it in certain circumstances. Unfortunately I can't find them just now.


My personal suggestion would be to write to HMRC with all income for all applicable years and wait to hear from them.

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You've had good advice from people who know way more about tax credits than I do, so listen to them.


What I do know is that prosecution and prison is for people who have deliberately done wrong.


If you've made mistakes while going through an awful period, and contact HMRC once you realise you may have made mistakes : if you are open and honest with HMRC - I can't see a prosecution being likely (if only based on "not in the public interest to proceed").


I reiterate : "prosecution and prison is for people who have deliberately done wrong". It'd be a fairly hard hearted member of HMRC staff who couldn't see how you might have made mistakes during those dark times.

A mistake is way different to a deliberate attempt to defraud.

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