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bigduckontax, Accountant
Category: Tax
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Been on and off with partner last year but have

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Been on and off with partner for the last year but have kept it as amicable as poss for the children. I made a single claim for tax credits but should have advised them we got back together officially just before Christmas . With one thing or another forgot and now I've got a letter saying I need to call them as they believe my partner to be living with me. He is so that's ok but obviously I didn't tell them if this PLUS prior to this we always kept joint bank accounts and didn't change it as he works from home and is self employed . Not sure what to do? Do I say when we officially got back together or what as on paper our bank never changed? Advice please as unsure what to do?
Hello, I'm Keith and happy to help you with your question.
I would advise you to write to the TCO explaining exactly what has happened with the position and the location of your partner on an off with dates etc so they can review the entitlement and make appropriate adjustments. The matter of the bank account is irrelevant.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for your reply but they have asked that I call them. I'm not sure if to say that he officially moved back in pre Christmas as he did or to confirm to them that he was back and forth since early sept? The problem is his work is here, our banks never changed and all he did was go between friends and family so I'm worried they will see this as me not disclosing he was still here!! ( he did stop when he had his daughter usually 2 x per week max!!, just so it was easier for them) so all of it stacked up looks like I've done this deliberately!!
What is the worst case scenario I can expect if they don't accept we were not a proper couple? And seem me to have neglectfully disclosed information?
I never advise verbal communication with HMRC. There is far to much chance of their officials getting hold of the wrong end of the stick if they can even find the stick at all. The TCO and its staff are not the brightest pennies in HMRC's box! Refuse to speak with them and just continue by correspondence where you have a written record of data exchanged.
You must disclose everything in a letter though explaining when and when not the pair of you were living together, if you ever were. I appreciate that although your partner works from your house pair of you were not necessarily together, but one slip verbally and the TCO will latch on to it and worry it like a terrier with a rat. Just make it plain what has happened, when you were together and when you were not. You are required to notify the TCO of any alterations to your circumstances within one month of any change so there will inevitably be problems in that area.
You should also check their interim awards on each and every occasion to ensure that they have the situation correct. I know of one case where their award was so incomprehensible that the TCO ended up writing off some 2.5K of overpaid tax credits.
I am of the opinion that if you come clean as it were there will be no difficulty, the matter will just be adjusted. It is not a case of the TCO 'not accepting.' HMRC officials are notorious for making assumptions which, in my experience, are invariable incorrect and always in the Revenue's favour.
I do hope I have helped. I would like some enlightenment though on what you mean by 'neglectfully disclosed information.'
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for reply but they are insistent on calling.
I mean it looking like I have deliberately not disclosed info. What are the penalties?
Point blank refuse their demands. Write a letter. It is obvious that the changes have been frequent, but one slip and you could be unintentionally in deep water.
Here is HMRC advice on possible penalties:
'We can charge you a penalty of up to £3,000 if you deliberately or negligently
gave the wrong information:
• on your claim
• when telling us about a change of circumstances
• when providing information to us as part of our checks
We can also charge you a penalty of up to £300 if you have failed to give us
information or tell us about any relevant change of circumstances within 1 month.
We will explain why we believe you have failed to tell us of a change of
circumstances within 1 month or why we believe you have deliberately declared
the wrong information. If you do not accept our explanation you can ask an
independent tribunal to decide.
If we believe you may have committed a criminal offence we may carry out an
investigation and prosecute you. If this happens we will not charge you a penalty.'
The full chapter and verse is here:
I suggest that as the situation is so complex you might well escape penalties as there is no deliberate attempt to defraud or mislead. You would appear to have to be communication on an almost weekly basis, guaranteed for the TCO to make a complete dog's breakfast of the situation.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Many thanks for your help.
I have looked at the correspondence and they are asking for bank statements utility bills etc for the period April 14 to July 14! Which is odd they have asked only for that period for me to prove, why would this be? Again all banks etc were joint! Bills in my name though.
My question is in my covering letter do I send the above AND advise them that my other half actually moved. Back in on a more permanent basis pre Christmas or do I simply send what they are asking for and nothing more?
Just need help wording the letter if this is required as don't want to get it wrong.
Well, as you know my advice was to explain all ins and outs. However, you could just supply the data the TCO requests. However, the danger here is that they will definitely get hold of the wrong end of the stick and base their decision on inadequate data.
I would be inclined to write the letter as I recommended and give them the supporting information they request. You can then dispute any wrong decision on the basis of your letter.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks and lastly do I confirm he moved back in pre Christmas too? Is there any wording you could help me with as I know you mentioned due to my relationship I would have had to have told them on a weekly basis, do I put this?!
Generally why would they only be asking for that period and not subsequent dates? How long do they normally investigate someone for?
Thanks for your help and I will review after this
Kind regards
The TCO will worry it like a terrier worries a rat, especially if they are arguing from a false premise stemming from the perusal of documents they have asked for which only tell part of the full story and a misleading one to boot. As I said you must be scrupulously honest about your relationship, if any, and provide all the facts to preclude a biased approach by the TCO.
I cannot tell you why they are asking for only part supporting data, but have warned you of the inevitable consequences of the TCO operating without full information. Almost certainly an individual in the TCO has fixed ideas about your relationship which the data requested will prove to their satisfaction. This will invariably be in the Revenue's favour irrespective of the full facts of the situation which is why they must be provided with more than they request; hence the letter I have advised you to write.
I had to deal with the TCO on a case and the file is 2 inches thick answering their inane and ill conceived questions and apparent inability to read earlier correspondence.
bigduckontax and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your support.
Regrettably, dealing with the TCO may well land you with lots of letter writing; just persevere.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Can you look at this letter and see if ok?
I am writing in response to your letter dated the 3rd March 2015, reference number shown above.
Since claiming Tax Credits for my daughter, I have always been extremely careful and precise with my claims understanding the possible consquences if this is not adhered to. I spend every day with my work, understanding and appreciating how important it is compiling the correct information.
My current claim April 14 to April 15 I took care but realise that some mistakes have been made.
Over the last year my partner and I have been in a very turbulent on/off relationship, mainly due to the usual pressures plus the stresses of having family death, serious family illnesses, personal depression, disputes with my daughters father over maitenance and changing my job all at the same time. All taking there toll and being a very mental and emotional time.
XXXX XXXXXXXX and I have been together on and off for some time now, although over the last year or so the relationship has seen us; sometimes live together for a number of days or so, then split up and be apart for periods of time.I now realise and understand that the circumstances should have been informed to the tax office, although the way the relationship has been so on and off, I would almost have had to been informing you on a weekly if not sometimes on a daily basis.This is where I believe that I have made the mistake with my claim and completely understand that I need to give you the information you have requested. I have therefore enclosed as much information as possible including the joint bank account statements which we have continually used throughout this period due to the reasons as stated above. All bills including house insurance, water, gas, electric and council tax are all in my sole name as you can see from the enclosed. I have not claimed for any additional benefits.
I want to inform you also at this stage that my salary of £13,400, due to commisions, is now likely to be somewhere in the region of £22,000 and that XXXX XXXXXXXX and I are now in a more stable relationship. and he is residing at the property on a permanant basis. He is self employed and from 14-15 earnt £7,674 plus dividends of £22,222.
I believe I took reasonable care when I made the claim and did not give false information but appeciate I may still have made errors since then, I undestand that there will be an overpayment based on all of the information I have provided, should you require anything further I will cooperate fully.
Yours Sincerely
I don't think you could do much better than that!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
You sure I don't need to put specific dates etc?
Thank you for all of your advice
Attach the dates as an Annex to the letter would be my approach.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi still haven't sent off letter as was waiting for co texans advice to call but to date nothing! I just want to be certain I'm saying the right thing and having read some horror stories don't want to be done for fraud as me not knowing is no defense!!
I very much doubt if there will be any further action once the TCO have seen the in s and outs. they will then recalculate and in my experience are guaranteed to get it wrong requiring yet more correspondence to correct the errors!
It's definitely a Dad's Army 'Don't panic' situation.