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Child Benefit Overpayment - 10 years


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I moved overseas to work as an expat in 2010.  HMRC are aware of this and I complete self assessment returns every year (I still have UK income from property rental and a military pension).  Unfortunately I overlooked the child benefit payments for my only child which I continued to receive. 


It may sound stupid, and I certainly feel that way, but it didn't occur to me to check until the entry in my bank account changed from a random BGC numbered deposit, to "HMRC Child Benefit".  Edited to add: I moved overseas with my family, so my child is with me.


I want to declare the situation, and am in the fortunate position to be able to afford to repay the overpayment (more than £10,000!) although it will wipe out most of my savings, but


question is

if I declare this, and it's such a large amount, will they consider prosecuting me for fraud?

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I would expect that if you declare this immediately without having been subject to any enquiry, that they will simply accept the money and I can't imagine that they would be any criminal process at all.

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Thanks for the really quick reply.  How confident are you of this?  In my mind as long as I declare it there's no public interest in prosecuting me, but it is a large amount and the situation has been extant for so long I'm obviously worried.

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I'm not in a position to give you any certainty insofar as a voluntary declaration is concerned but I would say that is more likely than not that no action will be taken. If you provide your justification as you have done above and you send in the money upfront then I think they'll simply be pleased to get the money. Also, you are out of the jurisdiction which makes things more complicated.

If you want certainty, then if you allow them to find out accidentally and to press you for the money, then I think you can look forward to a prosecution.

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Are you 100% sure you had zero entitlement to child benefit ?



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Yes, but entitled or not – contact them. What is there to lose?

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UB67 - I'm certain I'm not entitled to it.  I checked and don't fall into any of the categories mentioned, but this is where my initial error lay - I was previously overseas while serving in the military, which has Crown Service exemption from the requirement to be resident in UK (forces overseas also pay UK income tax etc as if resident).  When I left the military and moved overseas as a civilian I declared this to HMRC, but didn't think to check entitlement to child benefit which kept rolling in.


Thanks Both, but Bankfodder's correct I think.  The decision was between taking the risk and holding out until my child reaches 16 years old (when the child benefit would stop automatically), or come clean now I've realised the situation, pay the money back and hope there's no other ramifications.  I regard myself as a fairly moral person so wouldn't be able to live with myself, or the continual worry of being discovered, knowing this was happening.

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well dont sell yourself short 

offer £1000PCM or something

theres is nothing they can really do to you.

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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