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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9180
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I was due a VAT return of approx. £10285.00 which was

Customer Question

I was due a VAT return of approx. £10285.00 which was refunded by HMRC but sent to old bank account which had been closed for over 10 years. Unfortunately as I am not in the habit of getting a refund, I omitted to tell tem that my bank account number had been changed. The old account was given to a new customer in the bank and money was paid into this person's account. After several ,phone calls between that Bank and HMRC I was informed yesterday that the customer has contacted HMRC and offered to pay back amount at £75 per month. HMRC said that this was not possible and advised me to make a claim against them. I am unsure of what to do as after reading though all the documents online, it may cost me more money to make the claim. Can you offer any advice please?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

There is an easier solution. Go to the police. There is already case history here and case law. This is theft if they have spent the money.

If the police say it’s a civil matter, then make a formal complaint to the chief constable.

Theft is defined as the dishonest appropriation of property, belonging to another, with the intention of permanently depriving.

Offering to repay £75 per month would not defeat the allegation of permanently depriving if they have already spent the money or even part of the money because it seems unlikely that they could maintain that they genuinely thought this windfall of 10 grand from HMRC belonged to them! There has already been a criminal prosecution for someone who took a similar amount of money from his bank account and spent it knowing that it was a mistake. He actually got a custodial sentence..

Unfortunately, if they haven’t spent the money and it still in their bank account, then you are faced with making an application to court for a court order to get the money back. The police will not be interested.

A solicitors letter will focus their mind more threatening legal proceedings and substantial court costs. I cannot see how they could have a defence to this.

Please rate the service positive. It’s the process by which the experts get paid.

The thread remains open.

We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your advice, I did not think about going to the Police. I am waiting for a letter from HMRC to see what advice they have given. Not sure what to do as I may end up paying out more money, which I can ill afford.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

The good thing about the police is of course that their free although you may need to push them to do something. Even if they just give the culprit a visit, it might be enough to spur the culprit into refunding the money. Certainly, if they were asking the question on here I would be telling the recipient of the money to get it paid as soon as possible because there is a real threat of criminal proceedings against them

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