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Tax Credit Childcare fraud

(43 Posts)
sicknotemum Mon 10-Jun-13 13:52:14

Please HELP!

I have just received a letter from the compliance team at hmrc telling me they are checking my claim for childcare. I know I have done the wrong thing but when my eldest child went to nursery in Sept 11 I didn't let hmrc know and continued to receive childcare costs for 2 children in childcare rather than one. I then rang at the end of august 12 to say that only one child would still be in childcare as the other was ready for primary one. they are now looking for receipts etc to confirm that both children were there and obviously only one child was. I am really scared and I know I have done wrong but has this happened to anyone else? please advise what I should do? x

Why didn't you let them know? Did you realise at the time that you should have done or were you confused by the fact that oldest child was still in nursery albeit one you didn't need to pay for.

KirstyJC Mon 10-Jun-13 13:56:11

We have just received a letter from them too, we had one a couple of years ago and it is just routine - they checked our costs and then OKed it, and I'm sure they will do the same for us again this year.

However, as you lied and deliberately gave false information, then I'm afraid you are in big trouble. Sorry, but that's what happens when you lie. You will at the very least be made to pay back the money you shouldn't have had, and if it was going on for a year then I would fully expect you to be fined as well. And rightly so tbh. The notes we were sent say the fine is up to £3000. .

The only thing you can do it tell the truth and pay up. Next time don't lie.

FiveSugarsPlease Mon 10-Jun-13 13:59:27

Did you lie on purpose?

Surely they'll just expect you to pay it back? Perhaps by taking small amounts from you Child/Working tax credit each month/week, until all debt is repaid.

That's very supportive Kirsty, well done. I'm sure the OP won't be terrified by your response at all. hmm

OP - don't panic!

KirstyJC Mon 10-Jun-13 14:01:28

Five - our letter says if you lie on purpose then you are fined as well as having to pay it back.

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 10-Jun-13 14:02:55

Very best case scenario is you'll have to pay it all back. But as you defrauded it'll probably be much worse. This is now being cracked down on far more than previously, and rightly so. I have no sympathy for you, but will say your best case would be to admit and try for remorse for cheating, rather than being caught.

KirstyJC Mon 10-Jun-13 14:04:08

Oh, sorry - was I supposed to pat her on the back for lying for a year? She said she knew she was in the wrong, so presumeably lied on purpose. Why should I lie to her and tell her it will be OK? She took a chance, it has backfired.

This is the same as benefit fraud you know, we are all skint - not all of us lie to get money we aren't entitled to.

Tough.

OP - if it WAS accidental then you need to persuade them it was, giving your reasons. In which case I apologise for being a tad harsh. But it wasn't accidental, was it. So no apology needed I suspect.

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 10-Jun-13 14:04:23

Northern if somebody steals or defrauds then people have the right to be neither sympathetic nor supportive.

sicknotemum Mon 10-Jun-13 14:05:33

To be honest we did completely forget to ring at the time he finished at the daycare cause we were all bizz with him starting nursery but when we did realise a few months later we should have called but had that many bills to pay and the childcare costs are so expensive in the first place. I know we have completely done the wrong thing but I am really scared about ringing about and telling them, we have got ourselves into so much debt with payday loans as well and I know we will have to pay back the money that was overaid to us but I am scared about court hearings etc.

axure Mon 10-Jun-13 14:07:31

Kirsty you are a knob. OP it sounds from the title of your post that you knowingly committed fraud, you failed to inform HMRC of changes in your circumstances that would affect your entitlement. That said it's not a hanging offence, send the receipts you have and a covering letter explaining that one child was in nursery for the period. I'm sure you can come to some arrangement to sort this out.

The Op didn't say she'd lied. She said she knew she'd done the wrong thing. That didn't necessarily mean she lied - and she has herself now clarified it. There was no need to pat her on the back but a little kindness to a scared person wouldn't kill you would it?

KirstyJC Mon 10-Jun-13 14:08:56

So it was deliberate. Nice.

They will probably take small payments monthly rather than all in one go. But being skint is no excuse and nor will it be taken into account. If you owe the Revenue money, you have to pay it.

I would probably write a letter rather then phone them, so you have time to write it in the best way possible without getting too emotional.

I wouldn't have thought a court would be involved unless you default on the repayments so don't worry about that.

wishingfor Mon 10-Jun-13 14:09:15

Right, you aren't the first, you won't be the last, times are hard and all that. You will have to pay the money back, that goes without saying, taking into account your income, outgoings etc, you should hopefully be able to pay in instalments. Try not to worry too much, I'm sure you've not been living the life if Riley with all this extra money you have had, unlike a lot of people who claim what they aren't entitled to.

PiratePanda Mon 10-Jun-13 14:10:56

All you can do now is come clean and take the consequences. The later you leave it, the more you try to cover it up, the worse the consequences will be. Don't leave it any longer.

Did you use nursery or other approved childcare for the times when the school (I assume) nursery was closed? Because if so and you have receipts for that then you may find they will offset some benefit due to that against what you owe.

KirstyJC Mon 10-Jun-13 14:12:26

Ooh never been called a knob before. Can I have a biscuit with that too?

And she has now said she lied by the way (as indeed she did in the OP but never mind), and as for kindness she didn't ask for that, she asked what she should do, and I made my suggestions accordingly.

I am sorry she is scared but that is what happens if you get caught lying to the Revenue - one of the Govt Depts with a frightening amount of ability to take what they like.

FiveSugarsPlease Mon 10-Jun-13 14:12:48

Wasn't your child still entitled to childcare money though when he switched to nursery? Or was it reduced hours/free hours?

Write a letter, making sure everything is concise and unemotional. Tell them you believe you have been overpaid due to your failure to update details, and that you'll be happy to pay back the money in a way you both agree.

sicknotemum Mon 10-Jun-13 14:42:46

I know I have t be honest and that we are totally to blame and I am not looking for excuses I am just very very scared! I actually feel like throwing up! I totally understand we will have to pay back the overpayment and a fine, but there is no way we could pay it all in one go! And no I was definitely not living the life of riley, if only! Again I know a load of other people who are frauding the system but seem to know how to do it right and never get caught. I know we should never have done it in the first place and knew we would get caught but it was so hard when we had money issues!

sicknotemum Mon 10-Jun-13 14:44:42

I think I might have to ring them rather than send a letter cause I will never be able to sit waiting to hear what is going to happen whereas if we phone them they might give us some more info over phone. Is there anyone we should contact to maybe help us with the situation so we are not on our own?

FiveSugarsPlease Mon 10-Jun-13 14:49:03

If you are going to phone them, maybe write down a little list of points you want to make? Just so you don't dissolve into a bumbling nervous wreck.

Could you visit CAB and ask them to call on your behalf, or sit with you while you make the call on loudspeaker?

And as for the other people you know who seem to be getting away with their fraud, it will catch up with them eventually. Same as it has done with you. Yours just caught up sooner.

sicknotemum Mon 10-Jun-13 14:51:00

Sorry not sure what CAB is?

Citizens Advice Bureau.

BabyStone Mon 10-Jun-13 14:58:32

Citizens Advice Bureau

MisselthwaiteManor Mon 10-Jun-13 15:06:37

Reading the tax credits website it says they may reduce the penalty if you offer up the information voluntarily so your best bet is to be totally honest and prepared to pay back what you've stolen.

Times are hard for a lot of people but not all of us resort to theft so that won't get you any sympathy.

sicknotemum Mon 10-Jun-13 15:10:35

I know I have done the wrong thing and I am in no way looking for sympathy from anyone, I am just really scared and can't hep thinking about possibly having to go to jail!

MisselthwaiteManor Mon 10-Jun-13 15:13:52

You won't go to jail. Read the link I posted, it'll only become criminal if it's serious organised fraud, you fake documents or hide documents etc

sicknotemum Mon 10-Jun-13 15:21:26

Thanks, how do I check if there are any other threads like mine to possibly find out what the outcome was?

ivykaty44 Mon 10-Jun-13 15:28:45

sicknotmum - please don't worry it will be ok if you now help the tax credit people with what you know

I would write down all the facts and figures as best you can remember them

then go and tell the tax credit people this is what you think was paid in error and you want to pay it back and have a plan to pay it back. Seee what they say and take it from there. If you phone them make a note of the day and time and the name of the person you spoke to incase you need to recall this information at a later dat.

MisselthwaiteManor Mon 10-Jun-13 15:28:59

There's a search box: www.mumsnet.com/Talk?showsearch=arch

MisselthwaiteManor Mon 10-Jun-13 15:30:45

If you phone I would also send a letter recorded delivery outlining the same things so you have proof that you did offer them information.

You won't go to jail.

You know you did the wrong thing and now you have to sort it out.

It doesn't matter how many people are defrauding the system, it doesn't make it right, everyone that does it must be aware that there is a big chance they will get caught but take the risk anyway.

I think you are going to have to get legal advice, from the CAB. because this has been going on for almost 2 years now and the only reason you are now giving the correct info is because they are writing to you, not because you realise you made a mistake.

Contact CAB as soon as possible.

Sorry, not 2 years. I didn't read you OP properly, I thought you were still claiming now.

TheFallenNinja Mon 10-Jun-13 16:26:01

Just fess up, see what they say. Some good legal advice wouldn't be a bad thing.

MoodyDidIt Mon 10-Jun-13 17:02:19

oh god op what made you do that? sad

not judging as a few years ago when i was a single parent i lied about something when i went back to work, of course -someone grassed me up-- i got found out, and had to pay it back. but the reason i lied was because i was scared of not having any money. they were nice about it as i was upfront (in the end) but it was very scary and stressful

just be totally honest, as others have said. and maybe visit citizens advice. x

Hiddenbiscuits Tue 11-Jun-13 00:21:46

OP my friend did the same thing and got found out about a year after her DD started school, she now pays back just a few pounds a week. Don't ignore the letter though as my friend did because they summoned her to court eventually. She saw a benefits advisor at the local council who helped her write letters to the people she owed money to, it was a very stressful time but all sorted now and she has put it behind her. Good luck smile

Monty27 Tue 11-Jun-13 00:29:17

They'll just take it back out of current claim. Don't worry.

Lonelybunny Wed 12-Jun-13 17:26:15

It's very hard when you are used to the income to suddenly not have it , however of course it's not right to do that but lets face it thousands do this and the point is what can we do to help OP now. I'm guessing if they realise u could say you forgot to notify them , if you get a penalty you will have to pay it and pay the over payment back , I do t know how it works I've not been in that position however I doubt very much it would be much worse then that .

Frontdoorstep Wed 12-Jun-13 18:33:12

I would phone now and tell them what the situation is now, don't bother saying you lied or forgot to tell them, just keep it as brief as you can, tell them what the situation is now. I'm sure they have to deal with this kind of thing all the time.

You'll have to pay the money back, I would guess they'll do this by not paying you for a while rather than you paying the money back.

I think the chances of you going to jail or even court are very small, almost non existent, I would think. It's not a huge amount of money. Our prisons are overcrowded as it is, they're not going to jail someone for a relatively small sum of money, especially not someone with children to look after.

But for goodness sake tell them now, it is stressing you so much you will feel better once you tell them.

sicknotemum Mon 17-Jun-13 15:26:47

Thank you all for your replies, me and my hubby wrote to them last week telling them the situation, so fingers crossed we get a reply soon, I def feel a whole lot better now that its out there, so just have to wait and see what they come back with. I'll let you know what the outcome is. Thanks again. x

Shula007 Tue 20-Aug-13 13:17:23

I Told the lovely people at the compliance Office I would do this. After leaving my husband earlier this year I had to submit a new single claim. After claiming tax credits over the last 4 years I was subject to a compliance check. I got the nasty letter (that is apparently a generic letter used to make people feel mildly threatened if they have been falsely claiming) and contacted my local womens aid office for help. They arranged for an emergency appointment at our local Citizens advice office within a week. The man from CAB asked me for information after gathering together (frantically as they only give you 3 weeks to get the information) wage slips, benefit awards, childcare contracts and receipts and a letter from my childcare provider highlighting that they have yet to raise invoices for July 2013, any other benfits, 3 years of P60s and utility bills and rental information. The CAB contacted the direct dial number on my letter and informed them that I was unable to find a couple of my wage slips and they confirmed that they only wanted information form April this year - not for the last 3 years as requested in their letter. My CAB person then gave me a list of all the documents that the tax credits actually wanted and I sent all of the original documents by recorded delivery on 09/08/2013.

I spoke to the office on 12/08/2013 and spoke to a really nice man who explained that the lady dealing with my claim was on her jollies but he would try to process my documents that day as I had been 9 weeks without money.

I spoke to the office on 13/08/2013 and they confirmed that my award had now been processed and to call the tax credit number on 19/08/2013 to find out about my payments - so I did and will be getting my back dated award tomorrow!!

I thought I would write this just to let you know that its not all that bad and I have read so many horror stories that I thought it was about time someone wrost something positive.

If you are a single mum looking for help then womens aid and citizens advice have been amazing and I would stronly recommend this action as it made what I had to do seem clearer . Big hugs to you all who are going through this too.

Viviennemary Tue 20-Aug-13 17:04:25

You've done a wrong thing. None of us are perfect. Just say you made a mistake and shouldn't have claimed for your other DC. I don't agree with this but can't believe how harsh people are being to the OP. I agree with ring the CAB for advice.

I had a fuck up once with childcare (2 nurseries at same time) and they said if I had been overpaid they would have made me pay it back plus 30% as a penalty. It went up to 50% for a second offence then prosecution iirc.

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