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Will HMRC accuse me of fraud?

(7 Posts)
StickyFloor Thu 16-Jun-11 14:06:47

We started claiming tax credits when twins were born in 2004.

At first the amount was quite low then it leapt dramatically in 2005. I understood this was because dd was diagnosed with a permanent disability and also because I was claiming jobseekers.

At the 2006 renewal I checked the forms and realised they erroneously had us down as zero income in the family. I called and had this rectified and it turned out we were entitled only to the bare minimum based on our income.

At that point they said we had been overpaid by approx £8000 and so since then they have recovered it by not paying us anything each year, so we didn't have to pay anything back as such.

Now we are no longer entitled to claim anything we have to repay the full amount still owing, which is about £6000.

I spoke to them today to say we want this looked into because if it was their mistake in the first place then we shouldn't have to repay it. According to notes on the system the error happened beause I was down as receiving Income-based JSA rather than Contribution based JSA. i can fill in a dispute form and have it investigated.

If it is their mistake then maybe we will be let off, maybe not. But I am wondering what if it was my mistake and I ticked the wrong box or something - if that turns out to be the case will they say it was fraud? Should we just pay up without querying it?

WWYD?

veritythebrave Thu 16-Jun-11 14:44:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DaisySteiner Thu 16-Jun-11 16:05:23

I think it is unlikely that an appeal will find in your favour I'm afraid because of the weasel phrase 'if we make an error that you could reasonably have been expected to notice'. Basically the onus is on you to check the forms when they arrive, so the error that you picked up in 2006 should have been noticed by you earlier. It's a shitty system that allows them to get away with making as many errors as they like and people like you end up in debt. No harm in an appeal though, you won't get accused of fraud.

Peachy Thu 16-Jun-11 16:10:42

If your DD got DLA at HR or MR care you should have had a disability payment so do please check that ahs been included in tehir sums.

StickyFloor Thu 16-Jun-11 18:51:10

Thanks for the responses.
It seems so obvious with hindsight, but at the time we thought it seemed reasonable given the change in our cirumstances due to JSA / DLA etc.
It is so frustrating that this system is so completely unfathomable that claimants can't do simple calculations and work out for themselves what they should be getting. When we discovered the error we were so devastated, at having our payments slashed AND suddenly having this massive debt. It was a horrible double whammy.
I would hope that they realise that if the mistake was ours then it was a genuine one, but I have never had to do anything like this before, and it is such a large amount of money. Mind you, I keep thinking that if they thought that then they should have accused us 6 years ago. I think we will appeal, as nothing to lose - will give us some thinking time to work out how on earth to come up with the money we owe!

RoseWei Thu 16-Jun-11 18:58:35

Don't worry unduly - something not dissimilar happened to us. I wrote to the (I think private) co charged with looking into our case, explained that we had applied and received monies in good faith - absolutely no fraud intended. They wondered why I was so worried. And so far, things are back to normal. I may have to repay but no stroppy letters. The key was writing a reasonable letter. Making honest intentions clear. Following letter up with a phone call.

Agree with Daisy - they can be devious but you need to be strong, open, and straightforward. And if 6k is just far too much, say so, and you could consider making them an offer - based on their misreading of your situation and the fact that there may be some legitimacy in their claim - but only some.

StickyFloor Thu 16-Jun-11 19:02:37

Thanks Rose. Will draft a simple and calm letter explaining what happened.

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