Why do I always feel worse coming off the phone to HMRC than when I started?!

(16 Posts)
TheChild Wed 02-Jun-21 16:40:22

So sooooo fed up of HMRC and their tax credits system that seems to make no sense!

We have had a pretty straight forward claim for the past few years. May of this year we decreased our childcare costs and I increased my hours and wage, and my partner got a small pay raise. So I log in online and report the changes, having reported a slight wage increase this way with no problems I thought it best to do it online again and save the long wait on the phone.

2 weeks later I hadn't had a new awards notice, so I log in and see that none of the changes that I made are there. I do the same thing again. The next day I log in and lo and behold, none of my changes were there!

So I called up and the man I spoke to said they had no changes reported but I vould report them over the phone. I sorted everything out there and then and a week later I got my new awards notice.

A few weeks later, I notice my tax credit payment had gone up by a fairly significant amount, so I waited to receive my renewal pack so I could check all the details.

The pack arrived today which has my partners new estimated income, the correct new amount we pay for childcare, my correct increased working hours, but my estimated income is the income I had put in last year when I was working less hours.

I logged in to try and alter this, went through the online renewal and clicked to change my details, but I couldn't see anyehere where I could say that my estimated income was wrong.

So I phone up, get through to someone and explain what the issue is. After lots of umming and ahhing, I find out that they only have it down that I pay childcare for 1 child, not 2, when I specifically said on the phone to the previous advisor that we paid for both children. The lady I spoke to also said that if she changed my estimated income for 2021/2022, it would decrease my payments by quite a lot hmm well, yes, but isn't that the point that I need to make you aware of changes to my income to prevent being overpaid? The renewal pack specifically says I need to declare if any information is wrong, so why wouldthey say "yes but if we change this you'll get less money"?!

She then starts taking about how they could bsse last years claim on my income sfter pension deductions for me, but not for my partner because his were deducted in a different way (I had no idea why this came up and didn't understand at all.)

I honestly do not understand the way any of this works, should I phone back and ask if they can confirm my estimated earnings have been changed? I have no faith at all that the person that I spoke to understood what I was saying, or that my claim is correct. I don't want to get into trouble if something goes wrong with my renewal when this is the fourth time I've tried to tell them about my new income sad

OP’s posts: |
Shehasadiamondinthesky Wed 02-Jun-21 16:42:42

I feel sick just reading that.

Hellocatshome Wed 02-Jun-21 16:45:44

Honestly nothing surprises me with them. I told them about a change to my childcare, I worked out what my weekly childcare costs were, the guy at HMRC said I had worked it out wrong, he did it and used his figure. Lo and behold a £4000 overpayment I am still paying back years later and a £50 good will gesture because it was their fault confused

TheChild Wed 02-Jun-21 16:50:31

Hellocatshome

Honestly nothing surprises me with them. I told them about a change to my childcare, I worked out what my weekly childcare costs were, the guy at HMRC said I had worked it out wrong, he did it and used his figure. Lo and behold a £4000 overpayment I am still paying back years later and a £50 good will gesture because it was their fault confused

This is the situation I'm afraid to be in, I know they work out your reward based on last years income, but if your income goes up by £2000 you need to report it? I have reported even the tiniest wage increase as I'm scared of being overpaid. With my increase in hours my income has gone up by approximately £4,000 per year so definitely something I need to report. What threw me was when she said if she changed it I would get a lot less money hmm obviously I knew that, but why would she sound surprised that I wanted to let them know they had a drastically smaller estimated income for me??

I am so grateful for the help we have received over the year from tax credits, but I will be so very happy when we no longer need to claim. It's just so stressful every year, even without having changes to report.

OP’s posts: |
Blowingagale Wed 02-Jun-21 16:57:10

Universal credit is a dreadful system in some ways but better then the nightmare of tax credits calculation

Ted27 Wed 02-Jun-21 17:04:37

I was on hold for 45 minutes, 10 minutes of which was all potential alternatives I should be calling if x,y, z situation applied.

I am in discussion about a projected £5000 overpayment.
I think it just should be 0 award this year, which would be correct.

As I don’t have £5000 sitting around, if they insist they can have it back £10 a month

TheChild Wed 02-Jun-21 17:20:32

Ted27

I was on hold for 45 minutes, 10 minutes of which was all potential alternatives I should be calling if x,y, z situation applied.

I am in discussion about a projected £5000 overpayment.
I think it just should be 0 award this year, which would be correct.

As I don’t have £5000 sitting around, if they insist they can have it back £10 a month


Oh god, all the stuff you have to listen to for every other query your call is not about 😑 It was just the tone she had on the phone, it was the same with the last advisor I spoke to. Lots of umming, I couldn't hear half of what she was saying and I ended the call having absolutely no faith that my issue was sorted. And even if they're the ones who messed up and I end up being overpaid, I'm still the one in the shit and being chased for money back.

Hope you get it sorted, I'm just going to wait until the new awards notice arrives and triple check every detail.

OP’s posts: |

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MaybeCrazy2 Wed 02-Jun-21 17:28:11

Just reading that has put my heart through the roof. I hate tax credits with every inch of my soul. I even choose to stay poor instead of claim as they are not worth the hassle, in the end due to covid I was on the bones of my arse and had to claim. It’s horrible. As soon as a brown envelope lands on my mat it takes me days to open it as I know it will give me a massive headache as nothing is straight forward with them......nothing!

Sacreblue Wed 02-Jun-21 17:39:00

I’ve had the opposite experience from HMRC. All benefit forms are monstrosities of course but on the phone they’ve been super helpful and made everything simpler and considerably easier.

Is it like reservoirs and water softness - just a matter of postcode luck as to the abilities of everyone’s own local call centre staff?

PollyMc82 Thu 03-Jun-21 22:36:13

Honestly, been there with them and now owe them £2000 apparently! Pretty much same scenario. I told them my child was no longer in child care and that my hours & salary had increased. Being a busy mum if 3 I hadn't really noticed I hadn't received a new award notice or the payments that where being made so that is my fault but I just wish they would log the changes u make when u make them to prevent all these issues. I know a few families in the same position through the same errors who all now have to pay back over payments.

Xenia Sat 05-Jun-21 21:00:04

Sometimes I am glad I have never earned low enough to get this kind of thing as so many people have been over paid over the years and then had to pay it back

Sunflowergirl1 Sun 06-Jun-21 07:47:22

They are just dreadful. The wait of 1 hour to ring is still apparently down to coronavirus...no idea why!

I have the opposite with having significantly increased pension contributions. They won't allow some of them in my tax code so have to pay out and claim back a year later with self assessment....I thought the point was to encourage us to save in a pension?

Danikm151 Thu 10-Jun-21 12:20:00

The issue with HMRC and tax credits is it's based over the course of the year which everyone knows can fluctuate. This causes no end of problems for people who are left footing the bill for HMRC's error.
Universal credit is calculated on a monthly basis based on your employers reporting's to HMRC - why can't tax credits do the same?

FedNlanders Thu 10-Jun-21 12:24:58

I have to ring later. Feel sick.!

Ted27 Thu 10-Jun-21 15:33:57

Thankfully my issue is apparently resolved. I had a small one off increase in income last year which was double counted and skewed everything.
I jexpected to get 0 award this year. Instead they were suggesting that it was 0 award and an overpayment.

So what have they done - given me an award based on my actual income, deducted the ‘overpayment’ leaving with a payment of £45 a month
Which is fine because I expected 0.

Lougle Fri 11-Jun-21 19:20:02

You could try the online chat service - you still go through security as normal, and you can save the chat so you can prove what was said.

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