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Confusion over tax credits!!! please help!!(15 Posts)
I hope someone can help put my mind at rest. I recently had a baby who is now three months old. I am currently on maternity leave from work and plan to return to work at the beginning of May. Myself and ex partner unfortunately decided to separate at the beginning of September due to our relationship breaking down, spark just isn't there anymore! We are currently living in a two bedroomed house which we rent privately. We divide the rent/bills (gas, electric, tv licence, water, council tax) 50/50. I pay for Sky as my pass time is watching the soaps (he hates watching tv) and he pays for Virgin as he is always the one using the internet!! We both pay our own mobile phone bills which is taken from our own current accounts each month. Our lease isn't due to end until the end of this month. We are both on the tenancy agreement as being responsible for half of the rent each. We both plan to move out but are both struggling to save up enough for the deposit on a new place. Even if he left, I can not afford to live here solely whilst on maternity leave, My pay will drop significantly this month as I will only be receiving SMP (136.78 a week). I spoke to a benefits advisor in September who told me to contact tax credits. I explained my situation to a female advisor (who was very nice) and she confirmed as long as me and my ex do not share finances or a bedroom, buy separate food etc I could make a single claim as we wouldn't be deemed as a couple. So on her advice, I put in a single claim as she said and have since been receiving tax credits to top up my earnings. I've never had to claim anything before and although I have checked this twice with tax credits, I'm still not convinced I'm able to do this. I was confident id been given the right info until I read horror stories on here from people in the same situation who have then been made to pay the money back!!! The last advisor I spoke to said, they do random checks on people and if I ever got a letter I would need to prove we have separate finances. I explained I pay 50% of the rent/bills into his account via a standing order every month then the direct debits for everything except the Sky bill go out of his account. She said this was fine, but is this right? I'm still not convinced! Is anyone else in the same situation? I will also add, I pay pretty much everything for our child. All baby purchases have been made on my credit cards. My ex partner has so much debt to pay off, he can hardly contribute after paying his share of the bills. We sleep in separate rooms. I sleep in a room with my son and he sleeps In his room. Has anyone in this situation been made to prove it? And if so how did you do so? What was your experience? Sorry for all the questions, but I've scared myself after reading similar posts on here!!! :/
It is technically possible to live in the same house as an ex -partner and claim as a single person, yes. You will probably get checked up on from time to time and it's important to take advice on how to keep everything scrupulously separate. If you 'appear to be living as a couple' you will be treated as a couple. However, do make proper independence your aim and keep working towards it. Finance is one thing but being under the same roof as someone you don't get along with gets very old very quickly.
Thank you so much for your reply. Can I ask; do you have any experience of this? Or a similar situation? The reason I'm asking is I don't understand what evidence I could provide if they demand proof. We are not financially linked in anyway, no mortgage, joint account etc; just the tenancy agreement which confirms we are both responsible for half the rent. One of my friends have said me & my son can go and live with him for a while, if my ex found someone to live with, but wouldn't they then just assume we were a couple because he is male? It would be the same situation...
I found this on the HMRC website, which is similar to my situation:
Example - living together, separated
A couple who are LTACP decide to separate, but one cannot afford to move out and the other refuses to because she owns the property. They no longer socialise together, cook/clean or undertake chores for each other, although occasionally one may do the others’ laundry with hers to save costs. Each has her own bedroom/living room and stores toiletries/food separately but they share bathroom/kitchen facilities. The property owner continues to pay the mortgage and gets monies towards this and other household bills from her ex partner. Although they still share the same address, they should stop claiming jointly from the date they were no longer LTACP.
This is similar except we rent our property and neither has left because we can't afford to at the moment.
That happened to me. I was living alone. They stopped my money. It was truly awful.
I phoned like you and was told it was ok to make a single claim. Then ex moved out. They did one of those random checks on me and due to the fact thst ex still had car ins at my address they wouldn't believe me. Im still waiting to here the outcome of the appeal its been a year now!!??!!
Ex wouldn't insure his car at his new place because it would have been more expensive. Instead he chose to let his family starve. Im still struggling now to clear some of the debt itput me in.
They wanted car ins as proof because its illegal to have a car insurance at an address that its not parked at overnight. !!!
Be very careful witih this tax credits lot.
You can find the criteria for single claim on their website.
Hope thats some help to you. Good luck
Thanks for your reply. I'm tempted just to cancel my claim to avoid the hassle but I can't afford to do that being on maternity leave. I didn't want to go back to work until may so I can have longer off with my son but may have to, to avoid all the agro! I just don't understand how they expect you to prove you are financially separated. How can you do this? What sort of things do they ask for?
I provided all sorts of proof....even letters from a doctor!!
All they wanted was the car ins documents.
Sadly this was the one thing I couldn't provide.
It nearly drove me round the bend
10tam is right, the link to that info is here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/tctmanual/tctm09350.htm.
It is definitely possible to claim in your circumstances - don't give up your claim, just make sure you're aware of the HMRC criteria. More info here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/ccmmanual/CCM15070.htm
Also just in case you didn't know - when you declare your 2013/14 income, deduct £100 for each week of SMP you had in the tax year.
I have heard similar horror stories, sounds like they get info & then expect people to pay it back regardless of their evidence! It's not fair! Why say we can still claim when they are then going to treat us the way they do!!! Hope you get your appeal sorted!!
I want to keep my claim going so I can spend longer off with my little boy. I heard that they have been getting their info from experian to catch people out who don't declare when they have a partner living with them. I've been completely honest about my situation, but my ex doesn't appear on my credit file anywhere as we have no financial links: I.e mortgage, joint account etc. He is also not on the electoral roll (his choice). I just don't understand how they would expect me to prove my situation! I think I may be worrying too much though. I've taken names and dates of when they have said it's ok, but I've read that others have provided this info to them of which they have no interest!!!
Thanks canyouhearmenow, they did it all for me over the phone as I didn't really understand the claim form so they completed it for me over the phone, so should be right!!
I did it for just over 6 months a few years ago. After the first phone call to change our joint claim to single in my name, no-one ever checked up, asked for proof or anything else.
We were getting divorced at the time, and had closed our joint account.
If you are concerned why not put the money aside until you have moved out?
I was thinking that but being on only SMP, if I want to stay off with my son for longer ill need the money thanks for sharing your experiences though, it has helped a lot
I did it for a while when my ex moved himself back in. He wouldn't go and I was damned if I was going to go short because of him.
We had no joint finances apart from a joint mortgage.
Did you get checked? I'm only concerned because I've heard people have been told by tax credits that's it's okay, but then when they get checked and provide whatever proof they can, tax credits demand it all back and accuse people of living as a couple!
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