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bigduckontax, Accountant
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My wife and I are being asked to repay £3,278.91 which consists

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My wife and I are being asked to repay £3,278.91 which consists of child tax credits and working tax credits. We were given approximately £2400 in working tax credits and £1400 in child tax credits. The claim was for year 2003-2004.
I am self employed and my accountant advised I was eligible for the credits due to my earnings in 2002-2003 being approximately £7,300.
I have written to HMRC with various letters regarding the repayment. My problem is I no longer use the same accountant and he doesn't have any of my records as it is now 10 years ago when the claim was made.

I have worked been working now for 33 years sometimes mor than 100 hours a week, paid hundreds of thousands in tax and never claimed anything from the Government other than this which was advised by my accountant and he also made the claim for me.

Should I agree with HMRC and make the payment?
Hello, I'm Keith and happy to help you with your question.

Certainly not at this stage, as the music hall song goes, 'Archibald, Certainly Not!' The Tax Credit Office (TCO) is notoriously inaccurate. Mark you they are not helped by a crazy system which makes interim awards then reviews them at the end of the year to make the final award. Their paper work is quite opaque too. I know of one case where it was so confusing they ended up writing off some 2.5K of over payments. Presumably you did do the end of the year return to the TCO for the year in question? Ask them to justify their figure and point out to them that the debt is time expired under the Statute of Limitations. HMRC will retort that the Statute does not apply to taxes. There is considerable doubt whether Tax Credits are actually tax at all within the meaning of the Statute!

Get them to prove their position. It is only your duty to concur with them if they can prove their case. If you made your return to the TCO how come it is all wrong now? It simply doesn't add up. Do not ever communicate with the TCO by any other method than by letter. I regret that this problem would be easier to deal with had you kept records. My Mother, who introduced PAYE to the BBC in the 40s, always told me to keep everything. I have tax files going back to when I started work in 1961. It's amazing how useful that can be. A suggestion, if you were employed in 03/04, your employer might just have the records from your P60.

Also your tax office may be able to help. the TCO and your tax office have little in common. I suspect though that they won't have records going that far back, but you never know.

I do hope I have thrown some light on your problem. For the moment persevere.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Keith, thank you for your response. One thing I forgot to add was I have now received a letter from the bailiffs.
Should I pay it or write again to HMRC?


Let us be quite clear. Bailiffs cannot operate without a Court Order, nor even with an order have they access to your premises without your permission. Presumably you have not received a summons from the Sheriff Court? Are you sure that this is not a firm of bailiffs operating at this stage as debt collectors? If the latter is the case just tell them, in writing, that you own nothing on the debt and that nothing will be paid. These firms are frightfully good at threatening everything up to the Tower, treason and execution etc yet conveniently forgetting the small matter of a court appearance!

I was once sued in the Reading County Court for some GBP 2500. I had already warned the solicitor acting for the other side of the inappropriateness of the action, but he went ahead willy nilly. I put in my defence and the case was quickly withdrawn never to be heard of again. Heaven knows what it cost his client in fees for the display of crass incompetence!
bigduckontax and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you for your excellent support. I do hope it all comes out right in the end. Do keep a beady eye on that firm of bailiffs and watch out for Court summons like a hawk.