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HMRC have been chasing since August 2012 for £2,350.43 they

Customer Question

HMRC have been chasing since August 2012 for £2,350.43 they say I owe in child tax credits. After visiting Bromley tax office on 12.09.12, I was told that they cannot see this amount showing as owing on my record. I wrote to HMRC explaining the situation and asking for a breakdown of how they arrived at this amount, but only received their standard letter. On 11 June 2014, HMRC wrote saying that I owed £703.17 (not the £2,350.43)! I think that this figure may have something to do with my husband's tax affairs (he's self employed). The letters were sent to both me and my husband, but now they are just addressed to me (we are separated, if that's of any relevance). Please can you advise as HMRC have now referred the matter to debt collectors.
Thank you
Bev Hunter
(*****@******.*** or 07958 150 366)
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thanks for your question, I am Sam and I am one of the UK tax experts here on Just Answer.
Tax credits and the tax office, whilst under the umbrella of HMRC are two separate departments, and the tax office are unlikely to be able to see any tax credit position (as would the tax credit office be unable to see the tax position of an individual)
You then advise that you wrote to HMRC asking for a breakdown of the amount and only received a standard letter - what did this standard letter say? And did it come from the tax credit office or the tax office, and what did this letter say?
You then advise that you had a further letter on 11/06/2014 stating a lesser figure was owed, but addressed to you, this will have nothing to do with your husbands self employment as that correspondence will only be addressed to him -
Are you self employed or employed
Did this later letter come from the tax credit office
Are both the tax office and the tax credit office aware you are separated - and what date was this - how soon after you had separated did you alert both departments.
Did the tax credit office ever explain why you owed them money
It would seem there are potentially several issues on going here - and if you could provide the information asked for, then I can advise how to take matters forward and manage the debt collection position
Thanks
Sam
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Sam

Thanks for getting back to me.

On all occasions, I have written to HMRC Tax Credit Office.

HMRC TCO wrote on 13.11.12 enclosing their checklist TC602(SN) which detailed common reasons why people are overpaid. "To help us get your award right and avoid building up an overpayment it's important that we meet our responsibilities and you meet yours". I met my responsibilities as far as I was concerned by calling them when I was due to go back to work and that I would no longer be claiming tax credits.

The letter also states "If we fail to meet our responsibilities, but you meet all yours, we will not ask you to pay back all of an overpayment caused by our failure. If we have asked you to pay back the overpayment in these circumstances, then you can challenge this decision. If you wish to do this, please complete form TC846".

The letter dated 11 June was from HMRC Debt Management and Banking "regarding Tax Credits of £703.17" demanding payment immediate payment.

* I am employed.

* I separated from my husband on 23 December 2013

* I have not informed the tax office of the separation

* I have not claimed, or renewed any claim for, CTC since my first application in 2002 (for obvious reasons)

* HMRC said that the money was an overpayment which I disagree with

My argument is how can I be sure that I owe anything when HMRC's initial demand was for £2,350.43 (now reduced to £703.17) - it doesn't leave me with much confident when HMRC cannot get their figures right. HMRC still have not told me how they arrived at both figures. I need to be sure whether I owe anything as, as you can appreciate, this is a large amount and I have two children to support, which defeats the object of child tax credit somewhat.

I have spoken to the collection agents about the situation and they have advised me to get in touch with HMRC.

Hope the above is of assistance.

Thanks

Bev

Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
Hi Bev
Thanks for your responses and the additional information
I agree entirely with the advise given to you by the collections agent.
I would write a letter of complaint to the tax credit office - stating that despite several attempts (and list the dates you have provided me with visits to the Bromley office and letters you have written) that you still to date have not been provided with the requested break down or advise how the tax credit overpayment has arisen.
Also state that you informed them in a timely fashion that you were to return back to work (if you can dig out the date you called and add that into the letter that would further support the position) and that there is no reason that an overpayment should have arisen, and you feel (in the absence of them responding your requests for a reason for the overpayment) that the fault lay with them and their failure to adjust your award at the appropriate time- rather than any failure on your part.
Instead you have received recalculated overpayment advise notices, still with no explanation.
Ask them to review this matter fully as a matter of urgency and that you hope they will have the good grace to ask the collection agents to hold off until this matter has been fully resolved, on the grounds of this appeal you are making, that you cannot see how you can possibly owe any tax credits.
It would seem there are sufficient grounds to this amount to be remitted (not pursued on you) but anything else you can add into the letter detailing your attempts to move forward with this matter would also help.
Copies of any earlier letters you have sent, times and dates from telephone bills, would also help.
Whilst I cannot predict whether they will be able to agree there is no money owed, I would advise you start putting away what you can each week/month whilst this is looked into - so you have something to pay towards this debt IF it proves still to be due.
Address both your letter and the envelope c/o Complaints Team
HM Revenue and Customs - Tax Credit Office
Preston
PR1 4AT
I do hope you can resolve this matter and that you end up having the amount squashed.
Let me know if you have any follow up questions
Thanks
Sam
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Sam

I wrote to HMRC on 1 October 2012 with dates and times and who I spoke to at the tax office in Bromley setting out the whole situation, only to receive their standard letter on 13 November 2012. The only other letters I have received is their letter showing the reduced amount.

If I have to pay this amount back, I will be paying them from the child benefit monies I currently receive for my two children.

Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
Hi Bev
Thats why I am advising you write a letter of complaint - so you get a full response of why you owe this money and how it is made up, which they have yet failed to provide you with, and this will ensure you get a proper response back with the information you seek.
Thanks
Sam

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