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Tax credits compliance letter - being claiming single benefits when I have a partner

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Good morning,

I have found this site via various google searches and really hope someone can help.


I have been claiming ctc & wtc as a single person but have a partner living with me. Stupid I know.

It was always a case of I will let them know but never have.


I have become totally reliant on the money due to large debt issues, payday loans, doorstep loans etc.

No excuse, Im just rubbish with money and an idiot.


Yesterday I received a letter from HMRC compliance saying they have reason to believe Mr X is living at my address and wish to check a 6 month period of my current claim.


I rang up, told the adviser that my partner indeed lives here since the date they are querying, but volunteered no more info than that and was not asked.

He said he would stop the claim and a letter will be sent re overpayments (around £3000 I think).

He said I do not need to do anything further.


Is this all I have to do?

Is it only the 6 months stated in the letter they seem to be concerned about?


I am terrified they will check my last 5 years of claims as I no doubt will owe tens of thousands. 30000 +


I know have been stupid and everything else.

Obviously havent slept worrying about the implications of court, jail and so on.

My partner knows not a thing about this.


Has anyone else ever been in this situation or similar that could give me some idea of what happens next.


I am so ashamed of myself and feel ill at the thought of prosecution and it all being made public.

Please please can someone reply as I feel bereft.

Thank you for reading.

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I should imagine that the 6 months is just an initial review period for compliance checks. Going by what i have read, at some point, you are likely to be asked to attend a compliance interview, where they will go through information with you. At that point, it might well become obvious that your change of circumstances happened a long time ago.


You really have no choice but to discuss this with your partner and try to face this together. They are going to find out about it pretty soon and it might be better to tell them. They might well then try to support you through dealing with this.


Claiming any benefits you know you are not entitled to is fraudulent, as you probably realise. It is now about how you face up to what has happened and in my opinion, you really need to seek specialist legal advice from someone qualified that handles benefit cases. If you are prosecuted for benefit fraud, i don't think anyone can tell you with certainty what the outcome would be. It would depend on the evidence and any mitigation provided.


So i would advise these actions.


1) Tell your partner of this benefits issue

2) Make enquiries with Citizens Advice and other bodies e.g local legal advice centres, about what help you can obtain to tackle a potential benefit fraud situation.

3) Start to deal with your debt problems. If you visit this sites debt page, why don't you start a thread in general debt issues, listing what debts you have, with general information about what is happening with them. You will then get advice about what you should be doing.

We could do with some help from you.



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Thank you very much for taking the time to reply.

I have spoken to my partner this morning so he is now aware of the full extent of my situation.


The hmrc adviser said I would receive a letter within the week stating the amount of overpayment.


I am going to try and not worry until then see what the letter says.

If invited to interview etc I will be upfront with a full disclosure.

I just hope this will be enough for them to go down the route of recovery of the overpayment and not send me to jail.

Edited by Jbthirtytwo32
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Hello there.


Prison is rare for benefits fraud, wait and see what's in HMRC's letter before you start thinking about how it will pan out.


I agree with Uncle Bulgaria, start another thread in our debt forum for advice on how to get that situation under control.



Illegitimi non carborundum




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Hi honeybee and thank you also for taking the time to reply.


I think the overpayment for the period they have referenced will be about 3000.

Having sat and looked at incomings and outgoings this morning with ny partner I think I would be able to repay this within a year.

I am also already looking into upping my hours to nearer full time if I can, in order to facilitate paying this back.


My main concern is although they have only asked about a recent few months, what if they look at everything I have ever claimed.

It was be around 30,000 I think. Would they not impose a custodial sentence even for that?


I rang hmrc and said my partner lived here over the months queried.

The man said my claim would be stopped and that was all I needed to do.


He said i would receive a letter about the overpayment and he was actually really nice saying when I ring to sort out repayment I must declare every single penny, even down to loo roll etc to make sure i offer a realistic repayment.

It just seemed to be resolved very quickly and easily?


Im worried sick which I know is of my own doing

If anyone is reading this and is in my situation I urge you to please come clean.

The way I feel now is not worth anything you can claim.

Thank you honeybee

Edited by Jbthirtytwo32
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Try to think of this overpayment issue as being two separate stages.


1) The overpayment issue based on what they know already i.e £3000, which you would arrange to repay.


2) A further investigation into benefit fraud going back further than the 6 months.


At this moment, you don't know whether DWP will actually begin stage 2) and invite you to attend an interview, after supplying financial information going back years. In my earlier reply, i made a presumption that DWP would go beyond stage 1) and i think that is also what you are thinking.


You don't know whether there will be any continuing investigations by DWP or even your local council authority in regard to council tax reduction benefits you might have received. It might just be stage 1) repayment of the more recent overpayment and that is the end of it.


Think you just need to see what happens. If you are told that you will be investigated for benefit fraud, then obtain legal advice.

We could do with some help from you.



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I, too, suspect that they won't limit their inquiries to the last six months.

If they decide to interview you under caution, you should get formal legal advice.


I wouldn't volunteer the information that this has been going on 5 years, but DON'T try and hide it if asked:

a) They are likely to find out anyhow, and

b) Trying to conceal it when directly asked can worsen the situation, both in terms of likelihood of prosecution, and in terms of penalty....


If they do follow this up, and interview you, a prosecution is fairly likely, for Tax Credit fraud, under S.35 of the Tax Credits Act 2002.

This would be due to the protracted duration of the fraud (5 years). Did you have a partner living with you when you first claimed (and did you state at that time you were single?) - a claim being false from the outset makes prosecution more likely (and again, increases the severity of likely penalty).



http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/v_to_z/welfare_rural_and_health_cases/index.html (in particular the 'tax credits offences' section).


If it did go to court, the press have reported a decrease in prison sentences for benefit fraud:



The guidelines on the likely penalty IF you were prosecuted is:



S.35 of the Tax Credits Act 2002, can be prosecuted 'either wa'y (Magistrates or Crown Court), although £30,000 of fraudulent claim makes a Crown Court trial a distinct possibility (and attempting to conceal evidence would make it likely, hence my earlier advice to be honest when questioned..... not to volunteer information but don't try to hide it if asked!).

Culpability B seems to best fit what you have described, with category 4 due to the value (and that table notes the 'starting point' is foir a value of £30,000)

Culpabiity B, Category 4, with a starting point for value £30,000 has a starting point of 36 weeks custody, BUT a range of 'Medium level community order – 21 months’ custody', so a prison sentence is by no means inevitable, (and even if given, could be suspended!).


If they start to look beyond the last 6 months, and if they ask to have an interview under caution (IUC), I urge you to seek formal legal advice.

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might pay you to look at you debts too

if you've multiple PDL's and doorstep loans

then many might well be unlawful and get wiped under an irresponsible lending claim or two.


have a look at



esp if you credit file was already poor you could be onto a winner here.



please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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