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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71159
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am appealing a decision for child tax credits, I moved in

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I am appealing a decision for child tax credits, I moved in with my partner, not the father of my child and I contacted HMRC to tell them I had moved, at the time we were both on my income support claim as I am a carer to my daughter and my partner became ill shortly after I moved in. I did not mention my partner, 1) because I thought the claim involved me as the parent and 2) because he was on self assessment and thought he wasn't nothing to do with this claim. I did however ask them to pay monies in to my partner's bank account.
18 months later I contacted them to say I was now married and they didn't ask to put him on the claim, this was half way through the year.
They then got in touch to say we should have claimed jointly and want me to pay all of the money back.
I have requested transcripts of calls but have had nothing through. I am appealing today.
I also didn't receive a tax credit summary for the year to check details were correct. When I then added my husband to the claim the claim went up, not down.
I am happy to pay any over-payment but feel it unfair to ask us to pay everything when had we made a joint claim, we would have received more. Advice needed urgently, thanks!

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

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Should I be expected to pay the money back? Is there a system where this can be looked at as a claim and say, okay you were entitled to the money you received you don't have to pay it back.

HMRC have confirmed that had my partner's (now husband) name been on the award we would have been entitled to the same or more (more as it turned out when I changed the details).

This wasn't done maliciously or to avoid anything, we were entitled to the CTC at the time, it was just a silly mistake. I am not sure if I mentioned to them I had moved in with my partner on the phone and when I called within the time period they are requesting payment back for, I even called to tell them I had just got married! I needed to tell them about my daughter's change of name you see. How did they not piece the fact I was married with the fact he should have been on the claim? Is this in any way their responsibility? I genuinely didn't know he had to be on the claim as all he other claims were in my name only (income support, child benefit etc)

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I just want to know if they have made a mistake my not requesting information about living with someone and when I called to tell them I was married they didn't tell me I needed to make a new claim.

I'm sorry if Im missing the point but you do seem to accept an overpayment?

They are not prosecuting you for benefit fraud? Its just that they want you to repay the overpayment?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,


They are stating that I received over-payment due to the fact my partner was not named on the claim.

I am not being prosecuted for fraud, they are happy that this is more of an administrative error.


I have spoken with HMRC who confirm it is their procedure to ask if I have a partner but this procedure was not followed and because at the time my partner was not earning and was an unnamed person on my income support claim, I did not think to mention it.


I did however tell them that I was claiming income support and the amount which equaled a joint claim and not a single. I also asked the money be paid in to my partner's bank account and no one mentioned that I should be on a joint claim.


This was purely an oversight, I feel on both parts, the money that was claimed we would have been entitled to had his name been on the claim.

I just don't understand why they are asking for it back when it was not indeed an over-payment when we would have been entitled to it anyway.

Yes, I do see that. It is certainly right to say that you would have had another claim. However, you did not have this particular claim and whichever way you look at this, that will not change.

You can always make representations to them on this basis and they may relent.

If they do dig their heels in though then they are entitled to recover. Come what may, this claim was not due.

There has been some case law that has suggested that some benefit overpayments cannot be recovered but its really very rare. It only really arises if a person can show that the error is entirely down to the paying authority rather than their own and that they could in no way have known about it. For obvious reasons that doesn't often apply. Even if they have been paid in error usually the court will say that they should have known and reported it.

That said, it does no harm to negotiate with them. The HMRC are generally more reasonable than the DWP.

I'm very sorry but I have to give you truthful information.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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