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Tax Credits overpayment - hiding from HMRC...!


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I'm sorry in advance if this is a bit vague, but I don't have all the details available.

 

I was contacted by HMRC a year or two ago, stating that I had been overpaid Tax Credits for the year 2013/2014. It came about because I apparently didn't tell them that I stopped using my childcare provider when I moved and had therefore been being paid the 'childcare element' for almost a year, that I wasn't entitled to.

I STRONGLY disputed this because I phoned them when I moved to give them my new address, and am absolutely certain that I told them at the same time, that I'm no longer using registered childcare as my mum was now providing my childcare.

It just makes no logical sense as I had moved 160 miles so why they'd think I was still using a childcare provider 160 miles away is beyond me...

 

I was so sure that I'd told them, that I began an appeal and requested audio copies of my telephone calls to them within the month that I moved (and the month following, just incase it had taken me a few weeks)

They sent me a CD Rom disc with two recordings on - one of which was a phonecall that wasn't even me, it was a completely different person asking about who received Tax Credits if her and her ex husband have joint custody..!

The other phonecall was me, but wasn't the phonecall I was referring to (when I moved).

 

So I responded again saying that one wasn't me, but that there must be another one, and apparently it doesn't exist - which is funny, because they had my new address, so it must exist as I must have phoned them to tell them!

 

Anyway, after this I kind-of gave up because I was frightened (the overpayment is large..!) and I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere, that I was going to end up being made to pay it and I don't know how I can.

By now I was also no longer a single parent (in a new relationship) so no longer in receipt of Tax Credits and therefore they couldn't deduct it from my award - they just kept sending me payment demands.

 

Since then, I have moved again (last year) and so far I haven't received any more letters from them - I'm assuming they don't know my new address and therefore don't know where contact me, so I have been happily keeping quiet.

 

However I am currently pregnant again and we are in a position where I may have to give up work following my maternity leave as we can't afford the childcare (we no longer have family help with that). Based on my partners income, we *should* be entitled to some tax credits which we would desperately need - but I'm too scared to contact them/apply, as I'm assuming they'll put two and two together at some point; they'll then have my new address and will be able to start chasing me for that previous overpayment again. Would this be likely to happen?

 

I'm even too scared to apply for Tax Relief for my uniform/professional fees etc at work because that's through HMRC too and I'm scared to make any form of contact with them even if it's not the Tax Credits department, as they'll then know where I am :-(

 

We are really struggling financially despite both working hard (with good jobs and a fairly decent wage), so I just don't know how I could begin to pay it back if they insist I have to.. but on the same note, we also do need those Tax Credits if I have to give up work.. that's if they even allow it with an outstanding overpayment on file?!

Would it flag up straight away about the previous overpayment, due to my NI number being linked to it..?

Would it be dangerous to even apply, considering they'd then have my new address and my NI number will presumably flag up the overpayment again at some point, even if not straight away?

 

Sorry for the long post, my head is a bit of a mess about it all..!

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In short, yes a new application will kick in any recovery process that has halted. In some cases the old overpayment will be deducted from a new claim, even though it is with a partner who wasn't on that old claim (Cross Award Recovery) but you cannot choose for that to happen, HMRC will decide. Overpayments are sometimes put on hold but not written off, last year there was a load of old cases from 10 years ago getting chased. HMRC can access a number of systems to find your address, so they may well trace you - when they can be bothered to chase that year's anyway.

 

RE: the overpayment, quickest way to check that you were overpaid is to get a copy of the award notices for that period to see if the childcare element was still there. TBH whether you did tell them or not is kinda irrelevent now, they really cracked down with the "you must dispute overpayments within 3 months" and the "you should have checked your payments / award notice and told us we didn't update the change" so personally, I doubt you'd get anywhere with a dispute.

 

Just my opinion - it's probably best to contact them on your own terms and try to come to some arrangement. I believe the recovery teams do an income / expenditure discussion to work out affordable payment plans. As claims can only be backdated up to 1 months, waiting may do yourself out of money you are entitled to.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi

I know this is from a few weeks back but I have just had a similar issue with the tax credit office. I am a single parent and work part time, when I am at work my daughter goes to nursery 3 days per week. A couple of years ago I had the dreaded concentrix letter looking at my childcare, I sent them all of the information they requested and they claimed I owed them over £2000 which they deducted weekly from my payment. This left me in severe hardship as in I couldn't really afford to get to work or pay all of my nursery fees, anyway I eventually paid it back and my payments when back to normal although I was now struggling with debt as I had to rob peter to pay paul. A year later as I was on my online account I filled in a the financial hardship form on there website to say that the overpayment had resulted in myself being in hardship, a few weeks later I got another compliance check through the door this time for B and C compliance operations who are apparently part of the tax office and I knew from experience with concentrix that this wasn't likely to be good. Again I sent them all of the information that they requested showing all of my payments etc, and again a few weeks later my payments are cut again, so I called the compliance man named on the letter to be told that the reason for this is that I had not informed them when my 3 year old started her 15hours free term time, I knew this was not true as I contacted them on webchat the day she started then and they reduced my payments. I sent them a SAR requesting the webchats (still have not received these) and made a formal complaint. The complaints department agreed that I was right and that I had informed them so it didn't make sense, they paid £80 compensation and put my payments back up, however once again I am in arrears with my bills due to the time it took them to sort it. I would make a complaint and keep fighting they are not always right. I have always informed them of any change the moment it happens as I worry if I owe people money!

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