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Tax Credit Penalty

(24 Posts)
DozyDora451 Fri 01-May-15 19:10:58

I have made a stupid mistake with my Tax Credit claim for childcare. I'm a lone parent and work 30 hrs a week. My son was attending his school's Breakfast Club (he stopped going around 1 month ago) and today I have received a letter from Concentrix informing me that they are investigating the childcare payments I have received from April 14 - April 15.

The form asks me to demonstrate how I calulate my childcare costs. In the 'helpful points to consider' section, it asks if I paid for childcare in the school holidays, or just term time.

That's when the earth fell from beneath my feet. I have been mistakenly claiming childcare costs for 52 weeks a year, instead of the 39 weeks of school term.

After frantic googling I am now terrified of being slapped with a £3000 fine. I've been crying all day. I've tried to work out the overpayment from the date my son began attending breakfast club until the day he finished and I think it's around £120. This isn't a massive amount to repay; although I am on a tight budget, it is achievable. It's the prospect of the fine I'm terrified of.

My kids' dad and I separated in 2008. Later that year I received a letter from Tax Credits saying we owed £2500 from an overpayment we received when we were a couple. When we separated he didn't stay in contact and didn't pay any child support. I didn't repay this bill. They didn't pursue it and have stopped asking for it.

Has anyone had exerience of this particular dilemma? I have read that the fine can depend on how much I owe, how cooperative I am and if I have been in trouble with Tax Credits previously.

I owe a relatively small amount and plan to cooperate fully but will the outstanding charges they say I owe from 2008 class me as a repeat offender?

I'm frantic.

emmajayne1985 Fri 01-May-15 23:49:55

I am about to receive a letter as I tried to do my renewal today and they gave me the number for concentric, I called them and they told me my childcare costs are being investigated. I was worried sick but I have been thinking about it and I was on maternity leave until October and I told them that so how could I possibly have been entitled to the childcare element? Surely if childcare has been paid it's an error on their part I can only tell them my circumstances they need to implement the change.

I think honesty is the best policy, I work for a government agency in a similar place to concentrix and the letters are standard if you call them and explain and work with them they will work with you your payments may reduce for a while so they can claw back money owed but I think a fine is unlikely.

MarniRose Fri 01-May-15 23:54:55

Good god woman calm down! What are you crying for ?

I'm married now and no longer claim tax credits but when I did as a lone parent I claimed incorrectly FOUR times in a decade. Stupidity not fraudulently! They didn't fine me. Just call them and say you made an error and could they give you a revised sum which you'd then like to repay via their deductions on a weekly or monthly basis

It'll be fine! And if they fine you, I'll show my arse on the steps of the town hall next Friday

DozyDora451 Sat 02-May-15 00:10:26

Hi emmajayne1985, thank you for taking the time to reply. If you gave them the correct information, surely the onus is on them to pay you the correct amount. You have done everything that was required of you. I think I've just screwed up. I just hope they will believe it was a genuine mistake, (especially given the amount isn't worth defrauding them for). I am a complete flake and I always seem to be chasing around trying to sort out things I have forgotten or got mixed up. I do hope your investigation goes smoothly.

DozyDora451 Sat 02-May-15 00:16:03

Thanks MarniRose! I think when your sanity is already hanging by a thread, it doesn't take much to tip you over! I saw the bit about a £3000 fine, I panicked and had visions of courtrooms. Fingers crossed it'll be a storm in a teacup...

Babyroobs Sat 02-May-15 15:34:02

Just be honest with them about the mistake you made and they will hopefully just make you pay back the overpayment gradually. They are used to this kind of mistake happening.

TooMuchJD Tue 05-May-15 16:10:25

I have had one of these letter this week too, seems they have moved on from just hounding single parents to all those claiming childcare. I was like you, have been panic stricken all weekend, anxiety attacks, can't sleep etc. and I HAVE notified them of all changes made this year. When I estimated the average childcare for the last financial year, back in April 2014, I got the call handler to double check the figures to ensure I have broken it down correctly. Changed from 2 providers to 1 in September when DC3 went to the nursery attached to the our Primary rather than Private nursery, had already accounted for this in the original declaration but it appears that this is what they're checking. I had made small error in that I hadn't included the second child discount for the before & after school club and the nursery fee dropped by £2.00 too, but recalculated as soon as I noticed and as it was less than £10 difference on the average was advised we didn't have to change it.
I am now worried though that when I send in all the evidence to show what I have done that they will find some loophole that means I have been overpaid. I called Concentrix and the lady I spoke to was helpful and agreed that the letter is worded strongly.
I share your pain though DozyDora451, if nothing else it has been good for my diet as I have ate virtually nothing since getting this letter, at this rate I should be at least a stone lighter and probably on strong antipsychotics.

Cherry2312 Wed 20-May-15 17:39:18

Write to Ian Duncan Smith at
and Louise Boyle of HMRC on
Complain, complain, complain. Concentrix are a very dodgy outfit.

nikkif80 Tue 02-Jun-15 13:14:52

I would like to know if anyones has been finalised yet or dealt with.
Concentrix have confirmed receipt of my docs but said to ring in two weeks if not heard. I don't want to wait incase my payments stop!

frangipan Tue 02-Jun-15 13:26:03

I had the concentrix childcare letter back in february, sent off all documentation by the deadline (17/3/15 for me)and have also had it returned (at the beginning of April) with a letter saying they will be in touch. To date I have heard diddly squat! I have however had the renewal form from the tax credits, go figure?

pettyprudence Tue 02-Jun-15 13:48:44

I have always updated tax credits immediately with any change of income and every single year I get a letter saying I have been over payed (even when my income has gone down!). It turns out that they just don't bother updating and wait for you to do your annual return. damned if you do, damned if you don't.

nikkif80 Tue 02-Jun-15 14:38:40

HI Frangipan,

Maybe yours was accurate and that they have just finalised your award and renewal as it was.

I am going to keep chasing them through the whole process, I have given them a week already!
will ring them next week I think to chase progress.

Stillwaiting1 Mon 29-Jun-15 12:44:18

Hello have you heard anything yet? My situation is almost identical to yours dozydora and I can't get through on any of the phone lines - been waiting 7 weeks x

ScrambledEggAndToast Mon 29-Jun-15 12:55:06

I posted similar to this recently it hope it will make you feel better. Anyway, 2 years ago, I was told I owed £1800 due to a mistake on my part over the disability element. I paid it back but around 2 months ago, they refunded me over £500 as they had miscalculated the amount I owed shock

Basically, if they say you owe something, don't hand over a penny until you are sure it's the right amount.

nikkif80 Mon 29-Jun-15 14:34:54

You wont get a penalty they will just make you pay back 25% of your monthly entitlement till its paid.

nikkif80 Mon 29-Jun-15 14:35:40

I had over payment of £1900 and had to pay it back monthly.

DozyDora451 Mon 29-Jun-15 16:23:10

Hi all, I'm still waiting to hear back from them. I sent all the info they asked for by the deadline (29th May). The initial letter said if I send everything to them, I would hear back within 10 working days of the deadline and they would let me know what is going on. I fully expected them to go over on their timeframe. It's one rule for one...

Meanwhile they were sending my delightful letters threatening to stop all my payments and demanding I pay back '14/'15 money if I didn't do my renewal. I thought I'd have to wait untill they finished investiation my chiildcare payments? How could I tell them if all the info was correct if I don't know? The mind boggles.

Anyhoo, I called the number and went through the ridiculous rigmarole of the automated voice recognition thingy (that clearly doesn't understand Northerners) only to be told they were too busy to take my call and I was being disconnected around 7/8 times before I finally got to speak to a person. The guy in the call centre was very nice and he told me that even though a 'full investigation' into my childcare payments had been started he could still do my renewal. So he did.

So now I'm just waiting to hear back from Concentrix. I've calmed down a bit since my initial meltdown - thanks for all your kind words and advice. I'm sorry to read your stories of TC incompetence. It's infuriating how they can make so many mistakes themselves but still put us through the wringer.

I'll keep you posted xx

Stillwaiting1 Tue 30-Jun-15 14:23:40

Thanks nikkif80 I'd misread the original post and I think my repayment will be similar to yours - I'd read somewhere that consentrix don't make the decisions, just refer back to hmrc but I thought they dealt with everything ? I've been expecting a penalty tbh, was it their error on your case? Thanks again x

nikkif80 Tue 30-Jun-15 14:54:27

Still waiting
It was my error i overclaimed on childcare costs as mine costs were estimated.

Concentrix do make the decision but then it goes back to HMRC for the payments to be ammended and the overpayment sent back.

If you cannot afford 25% of your award to pay back they will let you go through all income and expenditure to work out a lower cost.

Stillwaiting1 Tue 30-Jun-15 15:01:33

Thanks again - I've frightened myself to death by googling and have been worrying about prosecution and a fine at the very least! X

Stillwaiting1 Tue 30-Jun-15 17:09:47

Nikkif80 thanks for helping, was your 1900 overpayment through consentrix or the normal hmrc ? I'm fretting constantly that it'll get taken further - I'm a born worrier - have you heard of anyone else getting penalties/ further action? I wish I'd underestimated or not claimed childcare at all!

nikkif80 Tue 30-Jun-15 18:11:18

I do know someone hat was given penalty but she has appealed and won the appeal. But hers wasn't child care!
My original overpayment was through hmrc compliance but my investigation with concentrix was more leanient

Stillwaiting1 Tue 30-Jun-15 19:05:30

Was the overpayment much less this time it was checked by consentrix? It's not easy getting info over the phone from them - apparently it was at decision stage yesterday - I've never even had a parking ticket so reading about possible criminal prosecution is horrible

DozyDora451 Mon 20-Jul-15 21:38:04

I received a letter from Concentrix today telling me that they won't be making any adjustments to my childcare award and the case is closed.

I'm so relieved!

I'm convinced there was some discrepancy but it mustn't have been enough to bother about.

That was a horrible experience. They shouldn't throw figures like £3000 fine around - I was convinced I would be penalized in some way and it was scary. I think when you don't have any leeway with your finances it is easy to hit panic mode.

On another note, Gideon Osborne has screwed me over for the next financially year - I'll be £1070 worse off sad

Still, focus on the positive. The Concentrix drama is over smile

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