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Anyone overcome the high bar for late appeals regarding child tax credit, or for 'official error'?


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Hello, I've been over the HMRC guidance and related sites lots of times but still unsure.


Apparently nowadays you can show 'exceptional and relevant' reasons for late Appeals (Mandatory Reconsiderations) - examples given are being in hospital or out of the country. The longer it goes on, the better the reason needs to be.


What about when the person was around but they have chronic language/cultural barriers that led to a delay, combined with the fact that the HMRC Compliance Office phone was and is apparently set to permanently engaged (not sure if the notorious Concentrix).


The person did send a letter a little past the 30 days deadline but the Compliance Office decided it didn't have quite the exact required wording to trigger a Mandatory Reconsideration, so they simply ignored it. There's then been several further months of inaction until now.


Alternatively, 'Official Error' review can be requested for a long time afterwards. But can anyone explain what counts in laymans terms? In this case it would be the Compliance Office phone number never answering (acknowledged as a 'recurring issue' by an HMRC official); the stated reason for the original query appears invalid (their own website specifically says child benefit cannot be considered in deciding main responsibility - at least if there's a dispute which there wasn't here); a decision to remove a child without specific evidence (only lack of reply to a confirmation question - this strategy has been criticised in tribunals before); not contacting the other responsible parent (logically one had to be responsible if the other wasn't according to them).


Thanks in advance for anything.

Edited by Juggernaut
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From what you've said, is this is a case where claimant wasn't getting child benefit, which triggered a check of child responsibility? Was the child over 16 so the ftnae also an issue?


If so, why weren't they getting child benefit? I think that raises enough of a red flag to allow hmrc to begin investigations. Sometimes one parent gets child benefit and their ex gets TC, which in itself is fine hence can't decide based just on that.


But, if claimant doesn't respond they breach their responsibilities then hmrc can end claims.


Language barriers not a good reason normally, as customer is expected to seek help if needed. The phones thing is ridiculous but doesn't stop customer sending what they can by post. Last I knew, they were getting very strict about the time to request reconsideration and it doesn't sound (so far) like the claimant has a good reason for late reply or late MR request.


No harm in trying though, I guess, if they have sufficient evidence to post showing responsibility / ftnae if needed and point out first letter was meant to be MR request.

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Thanks GamerNic for your thoughts. You are correct there was an agreed temporary change in who claimed the smaller amount of Child Benefit for second child, based on written statement from a registered charity advisor (who has since moved to an org supporting bankers) that this would not affect Child TC, double-checked with HMRC by phone. It's young kids; I don't know what ftnae means.


Accept HMRC later writing just to clarify. But just as customers have a duty to respond in a timely way, I believe the office with a non-working telephone number is also violating the HMRC customer charter causing confusion, especially with some language issues and cultural issues (origin as discriminated-against ethnic minority in oppressive state, albeit now a British citizen through residence and work). And there's tribunal decision, the details don't matter as they're not the same at all but this one from 2015 seems to be saying ('here we go again'!) HMRC can't just end an ongoing claim based on an assumption with lack of evidence? [eh I can't include links but hopefully you'll find it or a summary of it if you search for tribunal "2015 UKUT 490 AAC"]


Yes I am sure there is sufficient evidence and supporting statements to show main responsibility, so worth a try for MR and Official Error. Anyway one of the two parents must be the main responsible yet somehow they've managed to award neither parent; if they can remove an award without a reply surely they could have transferred it to the other parent (who is on their system) rather than cancelling.

Edited by Juggernaut
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Unfortunately hmrc in recent years have put the onus back on the claimant as in law they have a responsibility to ensure records correct & to reply to queries within timescales blah blah....


A claim cannot just be transferred as hmrc don't know where kid lives if moved out, new person must apply.


(Sorry, ftnae = full time non-advanced education, something that trips up quite a few non uk nationals).


I don't disagree with your points but experience from the "other side" as it were is what makes me think I know what they'll say. Worth a try though, best of luck.

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Well the Committee of Public Accounts (HC998) have stated in April 2017 in regard to the compliance office problems in 2016: “HMRC must ensure that all claimants who wrongly lost their tax credits have their awards fully reinstated” and “It must also show that it has learnt definite lessons to ensure the appalling level of customer service is not repeated by HMRC, which itself has not always delivered a good service to customers.” so we'll see. Thanks.


Also just for anyone else this might be relevant to, the Chief Exec of HMRC in March officially promised a change this year so that "Rapid reinstatement of payments – in those cases where a customer has had their payments changed because they don’t engage with us during the enquiry, but come forward with new evidence before the final renewal date."

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