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AIBU or are the Tax Credit people?

(26 Posts)
ineedamoreadultieradult Wed 20-Apr-16 12:47:08

I cant work out if IABU or not re this childcare situation and Tax Credits.

My children are both primary school age and me and DH work. We only need childcare during school holidays. We have a childminder who we use during the school holidays only and we only pay when we use her (no retainer). At our last renewal we worked out how many weeks we would be using her services as we use our annual leave during school hols as well and worked out how much we would be paying her between April 2015 and April 2016 to fit in with the Tax Year. We divided this figure by 52 hence working out our weekly childcare costs as the person we called at Tax Credits advised they needed a weekly childcare amount.

From April 16 onwards we wont be using the childminder anymore as we cant afford it (due to having to repay a massive overpayment from tax credits which is a whole different story!) so I called Tax Credits today to advise them our childcare costs will reduce to £0 from April 2016 onwards they asked when I last paid the chilminder so I advised it would have been August after she had looked after them in the summer holidays and he said he would have to put in the system that our childcare costs reduced to £0 from the September. I advised that wasn't right as we had taken all our costs from April to April and divided them weekly so technically whilst that was the last time I paid the childminder it isn't when the costs stopped as they wanted the weekly amount even though I had told them I didn't pay her weekly.

The Tax Credits advisor insisted he was right, talked over me, rattled off a load of figures and policies etc I didn't understand then advised this was the correct process by which time I didn't know if I was coming or going. Am I right? I don't even know anymore!

RudeElf Wed 20-Apr-16 12:53:44

You are right. He is wrong. However dont expect to get any joy from them. They dont know their arse from their elbow. Looks like they'll be chasing you for another overpayment.

ifcatscouldtalk Wed 20-Apr-16 13:03:24

You are right. I have had real issues with the whole tax credits sham. Im now down to around a couple of quid a week off them and cant wait till i get a few more hours and i can completely stop dealing with them. We are not very well off and have had the whole overpayment on their part in the past, despite them always having accurate info from us.

ifcatscouldtalk Wed 20-Apr-16 13:04:20

Good luck though in getting this resolved.

StarUtopia Wed 20-Apr-16 13:08:59

Same story here...massive overpayment from them which we are now massively struggling to pay off. They have always had accurate info from us. Totally their fault.

They haven't got a fucking clue what they're doing!

You are right. They are wrong. But you've got no chance of persuading them of that. I, like a lot of other people, am just praying for the day when I don't have to deal with them any more. Even now I'm convinced they're probably overpaying me again (although they say they're not)and I'll end up owing them even more come September time.

AveEldon Wed 20-Apr-16 13:09:41

you are right
if you get an annual declaration pack then you can include the total childcare costs for last year which will be correct
Otherwise you are best to write to them providing evidence of how much you paid in childcare from April 2015 - April 2016

ineedamoreadultieradult Wed 20-Apr-16 13:25:12

thanks for the replies the advisor really made me feel like I was stupid. So I have just called them again and advised as the childcare I paid for in the Tax Year 15 - 16 was £1048 and they have updated the system with I stopped paying from September then instead of dividing this figure by 52 giving a weekly cost of £20 I would have to divide it by 25 (April - August) giving a weekly figure of £209. The advisor basically said they couldn't change the weekly figure as this is what I advised them I estimated it to be so I said well in that case the childcare hasn't stopped as I could ring her tomorrow and ask her to look after the kids and she would as our arrangement was ad hoc but she said as I had already told them the childcare had ended she wouldn't change that either. So yes I can imagine another overpayment letter coming my way. I think from now on even if I do use ad hoc childcare for school holidays Ill not bother telling them and just hope whatever Im entitled to due to earnings and having the kids will pay off the debt. Im resigned to never actually seeing another payment from them.

WWYD2016 Wed 20-Apr-16 14:06:47

The child tax credit system is the biggest financial rip off in history, it is designed to confuse and intimidate, that's how the government are making money. Using the tax credit calculator, 4 mathematicians were given the same family earnings/childcare costs scenario by the Radio 4 money programme to calculate the families tax credit eligibility, surprise, surprise, each mathematician came up with a different figure and according to HMRC, they were all wrong!
DH and I have worked tirelessly to be debt free (excluding mortgage) and to cut an excruciatingly painful long story short we are now £3000 in debt with HMRC. I hate them and even more so when I hear how little the likes of Google, Facebook, Starbucks and Ian Cameron pay (paid in tax) and aren't even chased, I felt positively stalked.

Zzzexhaustedzzz Fri 06-May-16 08:01:58

Oh this is drainingly familiar.
I have an alleged overpayment on my account because they refused to pay me for 3.5 weeks between claims ( change of circs)
They refused to change my details until they got the form back which they didn't even send until I rang to remind them 2.5 weeks later. So I have this gap which they have already taken £500 off me for and plan to keep taking. Which makes me very poor! So I followed the instructions on the website taxcreditcasualties and they refuse to admit that I am entitled to complain! But I'm doing it anyway. At the same time I was so poor I had to ask for a reduction in the amount they reduced - wanted all my income etc. They've automatically gone back to taking the full amount of reduction again this tax year. My income hadn't changed. It's appalling. I'm fairly good at maths etc, but this system is deliberately abusive to its users. Of course id rather not claim it! I work 22hours a week on a shit wage with three children on my own. I have no choice and NO TIME to deal with it!!!

Iwishicouldflyfarfaraway Fri 06-May-16 08:17:31

The massive overpayment sounds very familiar! Mine is due to the complicated way of averaging childcare costs for a year ( I should be psychic & know when my childminder is going to be off due to unforeseen circumstances) so I've been googling all their guidelines ready for when I complicate things by using two childcare providers. the way it read to me is you average the costs over the tax year if the weekly amount you pay changes for example it's lower in term term then increases in the holiday. If you only use holiday childcare you ring them a week before they'll adjust your award for that period. I could be reading it wrong. But hopefully it will help you, especially if their advisers have the wrong information.

AriaTloak Fri 06-May-16 08:22:26

Just want to stick my head in to say I absolutely fucking detest HMRC/Tax Credits.
It's a fraudulent system, an absolute sham and I'm absolutely sick of depending on them. £2000 I am in debt to them, and I'm paying it off even thought I am convinced it is not my fault.
I tried to fight, tried to write letters, tried to make phone calls and in the end I got so stressed out I just told them to set up a repayment plan.
They pass you from pillar to post in the hopes you'll do what I did and give up and pay it. sad

SilverDragonfly1 Fri 06-May-16 09:46:31

I had the same scenario about dates, in this case school term related rather than childcare- essentially my son decided towards the end of college holidays to get a job rather than return, but the advisor insisted on me giving the date term ended rather than the date decision was made. I argued it all the way, they tried to say I wasn't allowed to appeal and even sent paperwork signed by a judge (!!) to say they were right not to let us... They were wrong. And eventually they had to send me a letter apologising and admitting they were wrong both to use that date and to say it couldn't be appealed. I was tempted to just set up a plan loads of times, especially as it was a pretty small amount (not to us though!) but every time I got one of their smug letters, always with spelling and grammar mistakes and once dated a year previously, I was so utterly furious I re-entered the fray. So it can be done, but why on earth anyone should have to go through the equivalent of a TC law degree to do it I don't know.

wannabestressfree Fri 06-May-16 10:11:33

Does anyone have a number you can call to discuss overpayment. I have just been told to wait for someone to ring me in the next week..... it's a farce

BrickInTheWall Fri 06-May-16 10:53:40

Ahh.. I am having this at the moment with tax credits! They sent me a letter 2 years ago saying I owed them about £1500 from 2008. I called couldnt speak to anyone about how they thought I owed the money they just kept saying I would have to pay it. I ended up sending a letter saying unless they were prepared to send me the details of my file and how they have worked out that I overpaid then I would not entertain this debt. I heard nothing and the letters stopped so I figured they had realised they didnt have enough details to prove I owed and thought it was all over. Until..
last week I just got a letter from a debt collection agency saying I owe £1300 to HMRC?!? I have no idea if this is the same debt and where the hell they are getting this info from!! Isnt a debt from 2008 too old to chase anyway?
I have been receiving tax credits continuosly since 2008 so surely would show on my renewal letter of there was a previous overpayment?
My DH has been told he is in line for a promotion in January so hope this is the last year we will have to deal with tax credits.. cannot wait till we dont have to deal with them!

wannabestressfree Fri 06-May-16 11:37:07

Tax credits the same as any other debt have the statute of limitations on how long they can chase you.... it's six years so your fine.

Zzzexhaustedzzz Fri 06-May-16 12:32:07

It's good to hear of your success silverdragonfly- did you use the site taxcreditcasualties to refer to? They seem to lie all the time. And employ people to deliberately undermine you on the phone. The paperwork it takes to get these benefits is also ridiculous. We are made to feel inferior which is so wrong. With wages as they are and full time contracts non existant in some types of work, benefits are sadly unavoidable!

Klaptout Fri 06-May-16 12:39:22

I hate the tax credit system.
I notified them the day after my DH died, they said they couldn't alter anything until

They had spoken to him.

SilverDragonfly1 Fri 06-May-16 12:47:50

Zzz I hadn't even heard of it. I went through their own guidelines and rules and pulled them up on every single thing as I went along, including spelling etc and the fact they were blatantly using form letters with one or two added sentences long after the point where the case became far too complex for this to be acceptable. It certainly helped that I always take full names and dates and make notes after every call with any sort of benefits or government agency and also that the best way to make me dig my toes in even further is to try and make me feel inferior!

SilverDragonfly1 Fri 06-May-16 12:49:59

Brick, check your dates very carefully. If they contacted you 5 years and 364 days after the last letter/contact and you responded, the debt is still recoverable. Whether it's real is a whole different story!

AlwaysDancing1234 Fri 06-May-16 13:39:29

I HATE the tax credits system. Recently had a letter saying we owe over a grand from almost a year ago.
They say that when I filled out some forms in February 2015 I failed to include details of a tiny amount of income - that's because we didn't even start getting the income until May 2015 so how the hell would I have known to declare it on the form 3 months in advance?!
I've appealed but they just send the same standard response back and refuse to actually address my concerns.

AlwaysDancing1234 Fri 06-May-16 13:40:21

That's disgraceful Klaptout I hope you got a suitable apology

DixieNormas Fri 06-May-16 14:22:35

Is debt really wiped off after 6 years?

SistersOfPercy Fri 06-May-16 14:46:22

Massive overpayment here as well.

We received a cheque just before Christmas one year. We weren't sure whether it was right so called them. They assured us it was. We did some working out and still concluded it was wrong. Called them again to be assured once again that it was correct and they owed us the money.
We paid some bills, had probably a better Christmas than we would have had (DH had been made redundant a few months before) and thought no more of it.

6 months later they demanded it back. No apology, nothing. DH called them said he's told them back in December it was wrong but they were insistant. He said they could have it back at the rate of a few quid a month.

We've just finished paying it back some 4 years later. We probably could have paid it off in one given DH found work not long after, but we were so annoyed about it all we felt they could whistle.

Piss up and brewery spring to mind.

JonSnowsBeardClippings Fri 06-May-16 14:53:47

Debt isn't wiped after 6 years, if a creditor has reasonably made efforts to contact the debtor over the period then they can still try to recover it. If a creditor doesn't make any effort to recover the debt for 6 years then they cannot pursue it in court.

ineedamoreadultieradult Fri 06-May-16 14:55:23

So I've now had 2 letters on the same day one advising they are adding another £500 overpayment to the original overpayment because they won't accept that I averaged my childcare for the whole tax year as I was told to do my them! Then a second letter saying for the next tax year I will be receiving £20 per month as the rest is being taken back to repay the overpayment!!! I have written a letter to complain as I can't stand being patronised by their call centre agents again!

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