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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70187
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Please could you give me some information and advice.

Resolved Question:

Hello. Please could you give me some information and advice. I'll keep this as short as possible.
My wife and I separated in March this year. It was very amicable and we were still good friends. I went to stay with my parents during our separation. She didn't even have a bank account before the split so had to open one and get all bills gradually into her name as I dealt with everything.
I love my children and seen them almost everyday. I carried on paying the mortgage to make sure my kids had their home still. Any post which arrived for me was put to one side and I picked up when I seen the kids. Things went on like this for months and then me and my wife began realising the separation was not what we wanted and we began dating again and eventually I moved back in with her and kids just before Christmas. However, in March when we separated my wife began to claim child tax credit as a single parent living alone, which she was. In November, just while we were talking about me moving back in she received a letter from concentrix on behalf of Hmrc saying they had evidence of another adult being linked to her or the address and her single claim is being investigated. Now we know how bad this looks with me moving back in. Plus I never changed my address on anything the time we were separated. It just never crossed my mind and was a 14 year habit hard to break! We are both worried sick. I have nothing to prove I was back at my parents as I left everything at my wife's address. What is likely to happen? I've read all sorts of horror stories about interviews under caution, fines, court appearances and even jail if they deemed us to have committed fraud! Please help and give us an idea of what to expect?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Why should you be prosecuted? The claim is hers?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's my wife I'm worried about. What is likely to happen?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Basically she has no proof I ever moved out other than everything being moved into her name. This has been without doubt the worst year of our lives. Now this has come along its becoming unbearable.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
It depends.
How much has she received?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She received £340 before separation and £940 per month while we were separated as she also got working tax credits.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
So £940 per month since march?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
April was her first payment.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
How much is working tax credits?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not sure. This is child tax credit and working tax credits combined.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
OK.
I presume you were still paying her whilst she was claiming?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Like I said in original message. I continued to pay mortgage instead of paying maintenance.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Then it is made out. There is no way around it. You were still sharing expenses and that should have been declared.
I wouldn't worry about your position though. You have done nothing wrong and were not to know.
Come what may though, there has been an overpayment. They are probably saying that it was a false claim from the outset although it is not the largest overpayment. On my calculations it would be just under £6k.
If they are investigating then there is nothing that can be done about that. They will find out about this.
In terms of the outcome, they may well prosecute I'm afraid. It is over the sum they would normally allow repayment. Unless she has horrendous convictions though they would probably just impose a low level community order. There is a chance of a fine but she would probably prefer the community order in all the circumstances.
There is no chance of them prosecuting you.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She has never been in trouble before! By community order do you mean unpaid work?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Not necessarily.
Supervision possibly. It depends on what issues are found. If there are none then they are left with unpaid work or a fine or custody - the latter is not realistic.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK. Thanks for your time. Hopefully they will be lenient and allow a repayment plan.