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eeek - tax credit overpayment, dispute form etc.

(18 Posts)
geekgirl Wed 10-Jun-09 22:19:26

Anyone been through this? In 2007 I submitted our tax credit renewal form 8 weeks too late - it was due by the end of July, and then in mid-July my mum's ovarian cancer recurred with a vengeance and was obviously terminal. She was in hospital undergoing various gruelling operations and I flew to Germany to stay with my dad and helped look after my mum when she came out of hospital.
It was a horrendous time really and we expected her to die any day that summer. Unsurprisingly, the tax credit renewal form had somewhat slipped my mindhmm.
I did manage to submit it eventually in September, but by then it was too late and the Tax Credits people decided that they wanted all the money back they'd paid us in the previous year. I had one letter about it at the time, rang up and explained the situation, and then pretty much forgot about it again (it was an awful year and my mum eventually died in November). I never had any more letters about it, then tonight I get a phone call telling me that I need to pay it back asap or it will go to court.
I have now requested a dispute form, but it seems to me that the rules for disputes are very tight - do I have any chance?? I don't even have any 'evidence' - my mum's doctors were all in Germany, my plane tickets were booked online and the emails have long been deleted.
I have a copy of my mum's obituary but that's obviously from November rather than the time the tax credit renewal was due.
I feel really sick about it all. I am very stressed at the thought of having to gather 'evidence' about my poor mum's decline, and I don't have £1.8K spare right now.

geekgirl Thu 11-Jun-09 08:04:45


I was mulling this over in bed last night (as you do ) and remembered that I went to see my GP when my mum's cancer recurred because I was just going to pieces and couldn't function, and he referred me for urgent counselling... I suppose I could get a letter to that effect if required. Do you think that would help??

geekgirl Thu 11-Jun-09 09:38:34


poopscoop Thu 11-Jun-09 09:43:56

poor you. didn't want your post to go unanswered, i do not know about tax credits but would have thought you would have a very good case for appeal. Could you write to them, explaining as you have done here about your situation. Maybe ask GP advice too?

Hopefully this will bump for you at the very least.

Blondie79 Thu 11-Jun-09 09:53:32

geekgirl - I would write an accompanying letter (with the dispute form) explaining timelines.
This may help you with the timelines.

1) When did you receive the renewal form?
2) When you were told that your Mums cancer was terminal. You were obviously already dealing with the fact that your Mum had cancer.
3) Dates that you were in Germany
4) Did you receive a statement of account? You normally have 30 days after to contact.

The only problem that there may be is if you have a partner as Tax Credits may say that they could have completed the form.

I hope I don't sound too matter of fact - I'm very sorry about your Mum. I just wanted to try and help.

ilovemydogandmrobama Thu 11-Jun-09 09:58:03

Call the CAB and ask specifically about Benefit Tribunals and whether HMRC Tax Credits are within this jurisdiction.

Tell them that while you made a mistake, it's disproportionate.

In any case, you will most likely be advised to try and resolve matters internally within HMRC.

geekgirl Thu 11-Jun-09 09:59:24

thanks blondie, that's very helpful. My mum's cancer was supposedly in remission.. I don't know if I received a statement of account to be honest - I am not the most organised person at the best of times, and at that time I was just in a total haze and travelling back and forth, expecting each time to be 'the last time' etc.
Dh never ever deals with any of this stuff, he didn't even know the form existed and I just compeltely forgot the damn thing.
Aaargh. Wish I'd never applied for them in the first place.

Blondie79 Thu 11-Jun-09 10:02:06

Geekgirl - once the Tax Credit Office recieves your dispute form it put all recovery and potential court action on hold. Please complete the form and tell them in full detail what happened and how you felt/ maybe weren't coping very well at the time.

Blondie79 Thu 11-Jun-09 10:04:15

Sorry to go on - explain that whilst you were travelling backwards and forwards and looking after your Mum (and Dad) that your Husband was trying to hold the family together whilst working.

geekgirl Thu 11-Jun-09 10:06:45

yes that's a good point - it was a nightmare as it was summer hols, dh is the sole earner and we have 3 very young dc, including one who is in HMRC speak 'severely disabled'. I just hope they actually believe me.hmm

Blondie79 Thu 11-Jun-09 10:08:55

Geekgirl - They work on the basis of 'trust'. I actually work for them (ssshhhh don't tell anyone). And I have cannot recollect anyone being asked for specific evidence in regards to hospital appointments for deceased people (apologies again - it sounds very cold and clinical).

geekgirl Thu 11-Jun-09 10:13:38

thank you so much blondie, you've been ever so helpful.

Blondie79 Thu 11-Jun-09 10:20:10

Good luck with it all. And try not to worry about it too much.

slightlyonedgemum Thu 11-Jun-09 11:18:45

Just in case you have to pay it back (hope you don't!!) my DH 'forgot' to tell them we'd got married so he's having to pay them back about 7 months worth of money. They've been nice though and he's got about 18 months so it's spread out over then so it's not too much (although now we're married we're getting half what he was getting so we're paying them more than they're paying us). Also, if you do a 'new claim' (ie us as a couple not him as a single parent) they'll only back date 3 months worth. Hope this won't be the case but do everything asap just in case-we've missed out on about 5 months of money because of my DH being rubbish!

Not meaning to panic you, just hoping it means you'll be calmer knowing they won't want a lump sum if the worst comes to the worst.

Good luck!

geekgirl Thu 11-Jun-09 11:27:37

thanks slightlyonedgemum, that's reassuring to hear. For some reason I had it in my mind that they'd want it all in one lump sum and I've been getting very stressed at the thought as we're also due to pay a big corporation tax bill next month and it's just all too much... I could cope with it being spread out over a year or so.

slightlyonedgemum Thu 11-Jun-09 11:30:57

We panicked too-we'd have had to pay approximately £3.5k and my DH is a student teacher so not paid.

When he phoned them they were quite suprised he'd thought it'd be a lump sum and worked it out really fairly. Some people I know that owe just chose to not be paid it until they'd balanced out. We didn't have that option as it was his 'single claim' not our 'couple' one. So they may just work out what they should pay now then not pay it until you're in credit.

Castiel Thu 11-Jun-09 11:38:21

Yes, they don't expect it back in a lump sum.

I'm so sorry about you Mum. I have had to deal with some tc probs recently- nothing like you describe- and they have been utterly lovely, friendly and understanding. Be absolutely honest with them.

geekgirl Wed 12-Aug-09 10:54:30

well finally heard back from them today after sending in a letter explaining why the form was submitted late that summer. Put in all the details I put below.

The heartless fucks decided to dismiss my dispute and claw back the entire £1.8K. Am not able to appeal the decision either.
Twats with a capital T. angry

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