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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71132
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have a query on Benefit Law. I have received a letter from

Customer Question

I have a query on Benefit Law. I have received a letter from HMRC asking for evidence to prove that my claim as single parent is genuine as they have information that another adult might be living at my address and they mentioned my husbands name who currently is not living here and is living and working abroad. We do have combined mortgage and legal association. Would my claim be considered as fraudulent. What info can tax office has for my husband and how can I defend my case?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Does he stay there?

Do you share expenses?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He lives and work in Switzerland but he does visit us at times. The only financial tie we have is is the combined mortgage on the flat and he pays for the mortgage. he also pays some utility bills. Gas, electricity and phone. But I pay for council tax, food and childcare for the kids.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Have you declare his contribution to the DWP?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Nop they never asked for that information. All they want to know is whether you are a lone parent or not, your annual income and childcare costs. And now I am confused about the definition of lone parent too. I am not sure if we should have no financial ties at all. I have been aske to provide them with my bank statements, utility bills and any other documentation that proves that I am a lone parent. My statements show no evidence of any financial dealings with him. I can also get proof that he is resident abroad but not sure how much information I need to give them as I am nervous if I give them more info then they need I might get myself into further trouble or too little info might delay and complicate their decision so please advise how much to reveal.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Well, you can only tell the truth.

I'm afraid you are in difficulty here. They were entitled to be told about this to assess your claim and clearly they were not.

This is a difficult situation though. They might accept it was an honest mistake basically because he is not living there but it will probably be thought that you are sharing expenses with him even though he does live abroad.

In fairness, some of the forms that you would have completed do ask specific questions that would have uncovered this information but where a person is living elsewhere but sharing expenses it can cause genuine confusion.

They do probably have evidence of this as they have contacted you and they can easily discover it anyway if they are investigating you so your best option is to co-operate with them.

it depends which benefits you have received and how much you have received but, unless you have set down something that can be directly disproven on the forms, they may well accept that this was a genuine honest mistake.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, please can you specify the definition of lone parent and also that I am in full time employment myself and claim working Tax credits and hence want to know that what sort of checks and investigation can be done on me and what should I try and explain to them.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
1 Not sharing expenses with any person.

2 WTC will not be a huge overpayment. They can check your bank accounts, outgoings etc. This is the HMRC. They have more investigation powers than the police.