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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Can you advise me if we have a reasonable deference with

Customer Question

HI Can you advise me if we have a reasonable deference with HMRC and tax credits please?
We received an over payment from HMRC in the order of around £3.5k as they failed to update our records after we contacted them by phone. They have also said they do not have a record of the phone call. They refuse to accept this is possible. We have made it repeatedly clear we dispute the funds they claim.
Eventually we elected to make a settlement figure, and aware that HMRC can continue to claim funds, via a third party cheque drawing on (Bracken and Another v Billinghurst (2003)) and a covering l;letter stating that cashing the cheque is acceptance of settlement figure and they must inform us if this is not acceptable, which they did not. Interstingly that also lost the letter we sent to them but were able to cash the third party cheques and assign them to our account.
currently they are ignoring our letters, and have passed the case out to debt collection and are threatening legal action. so in repeat of above, can they pass the case out to debt collection when the funds are disputed? and secondly, is the use of a third party cheque (Bracken and Another v Billinghurst (2003)) sufficient to protect us, HMRC have commented at all on this? can you suggest a course of action please?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.
Did you ever appeal the decision please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am not sure what you mean Alex, I disputed the funds were owed as they were accrued by HMRC error.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex, are you still there?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Did you ever appeal the overpayment decision?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

HI Alex we seem to be having a problem, I answered this question earlier? I said I am note sure what you mean, I wrote and disputed that the funds were owed, I did this by myself and through the local MP. I am note sure what you mean by appeal if this differs from the action I have taken?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
You had a decision notice saying you had been overpaid, is that right?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, we have had a "final tax decision for 06/04/2012 to 05/04/2013" which has stated we have been overpaid. We then contacted HMRC to dispute this as we had provided information by telephone which ensured they had our most recent information and therefore assumed any payment received we were eligible to. HMRC deny this telephone call ever happened and hence the dispute.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Ok. Did you ever appeal that decision, ie write and make a formal appeal?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, not in so many words

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Ok. That is a problem. If the tax credits say there is an overpayment and you contest it then you must appeal. The law goes on to say that if you don't appeal they can take you to court. The debt is absolute, this means if they issue proceedings all they need to show is that there was an overpayment and it was not appealed.
As for your sending payment, there is case law to show that silence is not acceptance as a part settlement. The case you cite above is flagged as to be treated with caution. Given there is a statutory framework for tax credits and you did not appeal, I fear you would be liable for any sums due. Contract is usually common law so no statue, but for tax credits there are acts of Parliament.
I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks Alex,

can you suggest a way forward?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Negotiate a repayment plan. They are always open to that,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Is it too late to appeal, and if so what are the possible outcomes?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
You have a limited time to appeal, usually a few months.
If so then the appeal is either upheld or it is not.
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
I am just following up to see if there is anything else I can help with?
If this answers your question might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.
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