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Am I committing benefit fraud?

(34 Posts)
JingleMum Thu 10-Jan-13 16:00:54

Hi, didn't know whether to post this here or in legal matters? Hoping for some advice.

Ex and I split in February 2011, he's a great dad & we still get on great, we are good friends but there's no way we can reconcile and we never will.

I live with my mum (moved in when ex & I spli) can't afford to move out until DD starts school & I can work more hours. The only benefit I claim is WTC & CTC. I need to temporarily leave my mum's house for around 4 months a little later this year (lots of building work, re-wiring, redecoration, extension etc...) I work from home, my clients come to me, the house will be unliveable so I can't work from home until work is complete.

Ex owns his own property & is letting DD and I move in whilst work is going on at mum's house, he is moving into either his mum's spare room or his brother's converted loft, he's doing it because we have nowhere else to go & also because I'll lose 4 months income if he doesn't.

I will need to inform tax credits & child benefit of my temporary move, but I'm worried it's benefit fraud & they'll make us do a joint claim? I want to be honest about my temporary move in case they need to write to me etc... But I'm worried when I ring they'll automatically know it's his house (he doesn't claim tax credits) and assume we've reconciled, even though it's temporary & he'll be moving out. Is this benefit fraud and will they know it's his address?

Just to add I'll be going on his council tax bill for the 4 month period as I'm sure it's illegal if I don't declare my move, albeit temporary?

As soon as building work is complete I'll be straight back home & changing everything again.

MrAnchovy Fri 11-Jan-13 08:48:37

Oops sorry TheSilveryTinsellyPussycat and also HappyMummyOfOne, you are both excluded from my shock at the collective lack of wisdom.

Its not as if its difficult to notify, there's a single online form to do it covering child benefit, tax credit, self employment and all other HMRC records.

JingleMum Fri 11-Jan-13 10:46:53

Again, thanks so much for all the replies.

The reason i want to notify them is a) i imagine it's illegal not to as it's concerning money and b) my mum's house is really quite far from my ex's and it's unlikely i'll be going backwards & forwards to collect mail. Therefore i will miss my renewal. Also bare in mind that my mum is temporarily leaving too, so it won't be a case of her being there to foreard the mail.

I was not going to notify my bank or for example my next catalogue, i was also not going to notify HMRC self assessment department with regards to my self employment as it's only temporary and my tax return wouldn't need filling in and sending back til october (i'll be back home by then)

I'm now worried that when i phone tax credits, they'll inform self assesment dept and i'll get in trouble, as ex is self employed and obviously gets his tax return to his address (the one i'm temporarily moving too)

Is is likely this temporary change is going to land me in trouble? Seems so much hassle but i HAVE to move there! No other choice.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 11-Jan-13 11:14:21

It's the fact that it is so much hassle that I suggested saying nothing and got shot down for it. smile IME HMRC are hopeless if you keep changing circumstances. Takes them several weeks to process the first lot of information by which time you'll be back where you started and waiting another few weeks for them to process the next lot. Given that I have spent the last nine or ten years filling in an SA and then getting a form to fill in with exactly the same information all over again from the Tax Credit people I really don't think they talk to each other.

BTW... cannot see why you'd want to go on the electoral roll at the new address. That one doesn't make sense to me.

JingleMum Fri 11-Jan-13 11:26:51

I think i was just being stupidly over cautious regarding electoral roll!! I think i'm probably best staying on electoral roll at mum's. the only way i'd change it is if there would be an election to get rid of cameron whilst i was temporarily at ex's!

MrAnchovy Fri 11-Jan-13 11:32:58

"I'm now worried that when i phone tax credits, they'll inform self assesment dept and i'll get in trouble, as ex is self employed and obviously gets his tax return to his address (the one i'm temporarily moving too)"

I don't think they will accept a change of address over the phone, it has to be in writing (or using the form I linked to) and then it does get changed for all purposes.

You won't get in trouble, you are not doing anything wrong. The worst thing that can happen is that they make enquiries about whether you are living with your ex as a partner (or more likely were as they are unlikely to catch up with this before you move back in with your mother) and the facts will show that you aren't (or weren't - that's why its important to change his council tax record).

I'd also recommend you visit a Citizens Advice Bureau and talk this through so there is an independent formal record setting out what you intend to do.

JingleMum Fri 11-Jan-13 14:08:15

Thank you MrAnchovy i will definitely get to the citizens advice. When i rang them this week regarding my childcare costs going down, they said it was fine to ring them regarding change of address.

Mosman Sat 12-Jan-13 00:55:05

The renewal doesn't come in until July though does it. I've had no address before, we were homeless and HMRC's response to that was to stop everything for 10 weeks so now we're homeless and penny less. Lost my job as a result so my advice is to keep your mouth shut.

marcopront Sun 13-Jan-13 08:26:30

I know this is not related to the question but if your Mum's house is too far from where you we be living to collect the post then will your clients be willing to travel to where you are?

JingleMum Sun 13-Jan-13 22:56:04

marco I used to live in the area that ex's new place is (we lived together, but in a different house than the one I'm temporarily moving into) a lot of my clients still live around that area and they followed me to my mum's address. The clients I have from round by my mum's may not follow me, but will hopefully return to me once I move back.

Mosman that is awful, I'm sorry to hear that.

I guess I just have to hope that in those 4 months I don't get looked into. There's no other way round it. Hopefully chances will be slim.

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