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Tax Credit Overpayment Dispute - How to speed up process?
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# 1
Judes1727
Old 03-05-2012, 9:31 AM
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Default Tax Credit Overpayment Dispute - How to speed up process?

Hi

First post on here so hope you can help.

Last year I received a notice that I'd been overpaid tax credits by 1500 for tax year 2010/2011. I have disputed this as I told HMRC everything that had changed in my circumstances as and when it happened so don't believe I have failed in my duties.

Anyway, I sent my first letter of dispute to them and it took them FIVE months to reply...and they basically didn't give me any information just fobbed me off. So I replied straight away and asked for a response sooner than last time. Well it's now 4 months and still nothing. Whenever I phone they just say they will be in contact when someone has looked at it and they are very busy blah blah.

This is causing me so much stress as that kind of money is huge to us and I don't think I've done anything wrong.

Is there any way to speed things up? Someone I could phone who could get things moving? Just want to get it sorted so I can relax.

Thanks for any help.
Judy
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# 2
duchy
Old 03-05-2012, 9:47 AM
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Contact your MP and ask for their help. Once they write a letter the case will be fast-tracked.

If you are not sure who your MP is -try this http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/
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# 3
klolav
Old 03-05-2012, 5:02 PM
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I was just coming on to look for advice.......just received 3 letters, one 2009, one 2010 and one 2011. Overpayments of 59, 539 & 3895. Massive. Again, always told them all info etc so don't know where this has come from. Also if they believed we had been overpayed, why continue paying each year! makes no sense. V stressed and absolutely could never pay it bk in a year!
Any suggestions on how to go about disputing? Judy- what did you write please?
Many Thanks
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# 4
krisskross
Old 03-05-2012, 6:20 PM
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Have you crosschecked with your award notices for those years to ensure everything was correct?
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# 5
rac060804
Old 03-05-2012, 8:47 PM
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Hi there
Ive too just got in from work and have 3 letters on my mat !! 1 to say the payments have stopped, which my wife knew about. The 2nd was saying over payment for 2010, and the last going back to 2008 !!

How can they be claiming back money for over 4 years ago ??? My wife deals with this normally and always informs them of any changes. Ive personally been made redundant 3 times in this period and struggle to understand the claims for over 4 yrs ago !!!

My wife called them this evening, finally got through to them after being on the phone for 20 mins at around 7.55pm. The woman on the phone said she couldnt help and that she would put my wife through to the right department......and guess what, the phone went quiet and then the answer phone came on saying they were closed..........ARRGGHHHHH

Lets see what tomorrow brings ;-(
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# 6
leromancer
Old 03-05-2012, 9:56 PM
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Ahah we all got those letters today then! We apparently owe them 1454 (( Just want to cry ((
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# 7
Judes1727
Old 04-05-2012, 8:10 PM
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I got the letter yesterday aswell asking for the full payment by June. I thought they couldn't ask for payment when there was an ongoing dispute? Will have to call and check 1) whether they've sent a reply to my letter from January, and 2) whether they can demand payment when there is a dispute ongoing.

God I hate this system. I am an intelligent person and have worked in accounts/finance all my working life and even I can't work out their bloody figures. Been told that we're no longer eligible for tax credits and to be honest I'm glad cause I can just do without the stress of dealing with it all.

For anyone thinking of appealing/disputing this site give you a good guide: EDIT - sorry wouldn't let me post the link as I'm a new user. Got it from this site though so just look under the Income Family Section to do with Tax Credits.

Thanks for the replies everyone. Will contact my MP if I get no joy.

Judy
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# 8
zagfles
Old 04-05-2012, 9:16 PM
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One thing to bear in mind is that you can end up with an overpayment even if you tell them everything straight away, and even if HMRC act on it straight away. It's down to the way tax credits are designed (ie not very well). This applies in particular to someone who loses their job then finds a new job a few months later.
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# 9
Horsepower
Old 05-05-2012, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zagfles View Post
One thing to bear in mind is that you can end up with an overpayment even if you tell them everything straight away, and even if HMRC act on it straight away. It's down to the way tax credits are designed (ie not very well). This applies in particular to someone who loses their job then finds a new job a few months later.
But why does it take them years to realise there was an overpayment? That can't be right?
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# 10
karren
Old 05-05-2012, 11:34 AM
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can anyone help me, ive had 6 of the above letters this week for 3,000 so need to write a letter to dispute as its making me ill as on the phone I had no sense at all, anyone know of a templete leter????
thank you x
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# 11
zagfles
Old 05-05-2012, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsepower View Post
But why does it take them years to realise there was an overpayment? That can't be right?
Don't know - they seem to be having a purge at the moment. I'd guess sometimes they can't trace people (if they've moved etc), sometimes an overpayment will be carried over to the next year and taken out of tax credits payments, but when tax credits end, eg because over the threshold as many people now are with the recent changes, they want it all back.

The worst cases are those where a couple have split but not told HMRC, as we've seen here quite often. Here they can be demanding overpayments back from someone who never themselves ever received tax credits at all!
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# 12
zagfles
Old 05-05-2012, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karren View Post
can anyone help me, ive had 6 of the above letters this week for 3,000 so need to write a letter to dispute as its making me ill as on the phone I had no sense at all, anyone know of a templete leter????
thank you x
There won't be a template letter as everyone's circumstances are different. You could ask for help from the CAB, TaxAid or the LITRG (google them).
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# 13
bm48
Old 05-05-2012, 9:28 PM
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We are in the process of appealing our tax credits over a disputed overpayment due to bad advice given by HMRC. The debt collection was suspended until the result of the first appeal was given (basically a restatement of the figures we gave them in error (the income tax return determined that a disability compensation payment was not taxable).
Whilst the second appeal was proceeding the debt department chased us and we have had to set up a slow repayment plan of the debt. Apparently they can only suspend the debt collection once. It is also their standard letter heading to state that you have not replied to previous letters even if you have (we record our calls and send letters recorded delivery).
We had the result of the second appeal today and it is flawed in it's conclusions.
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# 14
Judes1727
Old 06-05-2012, 7:23 PM
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Phoned the helpline yesterday to query why they were asking me for all the overpayment back when there was a dispute in progress, and also to ask when I would get a response to my letter sent in January. Turns out because they had already answered my first letter/dispute, I needed to send in an appeals form next rather than another dispute letter. I was lost for words...why could they not write and tell me this rather than just ignoring my letter for nearly 4 months when I was thinking someone was looking into my case all this time? I was so mad I asked to be put through to the manager, but just got the same story from her. Ended up being so frustrated that I burst into tears while still on the phone...how embarassing !

They're sending me out the appeals form, but I also made an official complaint and someone should be phoning me back within a couple of days.

This whole system is shocking. It's the first time I've been involved in claiming any kind of benefits and hope to god it's the last.

Judy
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# 15
Icequeen99
Old 06-05-2012, 8:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judes1727 View Post
Phoned the helpline yesterday to query why they were asking me for all the overpayment back when there was a dispute in progress, and also to ask when I would get a response to my letter sent in January. Turns out because they had already answered my first letter/dispute, I needed to send in an appeals form next rather than another dispute letter. I was lost for words...why could they not write and tell me this rather than just ignoring my letter for nearly 4 months when I was thinking someone was looking into my case all this time? I was so mad I asked to be put through to the manager, but just got the same story from her. Ended up being so frustrated that I burst into tears while still on the phone...how embarassing !

They're sending me out the appeals form, but I also made an official complaint and someone should be phoning me back within a couple of days.

This whole system is shocking. It's the first time I've been involved in claiming any kind of benefits and hope to god it's the last.

Judy
I think they have probably given you the wrong information.

You don't appeal just because your first dispute has been turned down. If you don't get in the right route, you may end up wasting months on the wrong process.

An appeal is where you believe the actual calculation is wrong. So for example they have included 2 children in the calculation and you have 3 or they have refused to include the disability element but you think you are entitled to it. An appeal is about entitlement and there are strict time limits. 30 days from the award notice that you want to appeal about, max of 13 months but only if a late appeal is accepted.

A dispute is completely different and is used when there is an overpayment (you have received more than you are entitled) but you think you shouldn't have to repay because it was caused by HMRC error. If you are not happy with the first dispute or the review, then you follow the complaints route.

You need to be clear what it is exactly you have issue with and make sure you use the right route.

Have a look at this guide which explains the difference:

http://www.litrg.org.uk/Resources/LI...verpaments.pdf

IQ
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# 16
captainusa
Old 06-05-2012, 9:09 PM
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go to http://www.taxcc.org/ and follow their step by step instructions for disputing. Using that guide, I managed to get a 5,400 overpayment written off due to their incompetence.
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# 17
Elvisia
Old 06-05-2012, 10:36 PM
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I would also suggest going to the CAB, they can go through it with you and they will help write the letters. And don't worry about crying, I've blubbed a few times before on the phone!!
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# 18
Judes1727
Old 08-05-2012, 12:35 PM
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Thanks everyone for your replies. Icequeen - I think you're right, they shouldn't have told me to appeal as I'm not disagreeing I've been overpaid.

If I give a quick summary of my circumstances can someone just confirm that I'm doing the right thing?

- For tax year 2009/2010 our joint income was approx 31k
- I had my second child in Feb 2010 so received Maternity Allowance (which is not included as income for tax credits).
- I had hoped to get part-time employment by the time my MA ended but didn't. During this time they still had our joint income for 2010/2011 as 31k
- In Feb 2011 I phoned to advise I hadn't been successful in finding employment therefore our income was going to be less that the previous year. Agreed to reduce joint income to an estimated figure of 25k.
- When my husband got his P60 his income was actually higher than we thought (due to sporadic overtime rather than a pay increase), so our finalised joint income was 31k (co-incidentaly back to roughly the original figure). I advised them of this on 27/4/11.

Two points:-
1) They had the correct income figure for almost the entire year, until Feb 2011 when it was reduced to 25k. They are saying because our finalised figure was 31k this resulted in the overpayment, even although they had our income as 31k for 10 months of the tax year??
2) In page 2 of the HMRC Code of Practice COP26 it states that an overpayment happens if "your income in 2011-12 is 10,000 (25,000 prior to 2011-12) more than it was in 2010-11"....ours wasn't so why is there an overpayment?

As mentioned before I've already disputed, which they rejected. I sent another dispute letter in Jan which they ignored. I think my next course is the complaint route but I'd be really grateful if someone could confirm?

Thanks again. This is a nightmare!

Judy
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# 19
shedboy94
Old 08-05-2012, 1:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judes1727 View Post
Thanks everyone for your replies. Icequeen - I think you're right, they shouldn't have told me to appeal as I'm not disagreeing I've been overpaid.

If I give a quick summary of my circumstances can someone just confirm that I'm doing the right thing?

- For tax year 2009/2010 our joint income was approx 31k
- I had my second child in Feb 2010 so received Maternity Allowance (which is not included as income for tax credits).
- I had hoped to get part-time employment by the time my MA ended but didn't. During this time they still had our joint income for 2010/2011 as 31k
- In Feb 2011 I phoned to advise I hadn't been successful in finding employment therefore our income was going to be less that the previous year. Agreed to reduce joint income to an estimated figure of 25k.
- When my husband got his P60 his income was actually higher than we thought (due to sporadic overtime rather than a pay increase), so our finalised joint income was 31k (co-incidentaly back to roughly the original figure). I advised them of this on 27/4/11.

Two points:-
1) They had the correct income figure for almost the entire year, until Feb 2011 when it was reduced to 25k. They are saying because our finalised figure was 31k this resulted in the overpayment, even although they had our income as 31k for 10 months of the tax year??
2) In page 2 of the HMRC Code of Practice COP26 it states that an overpayment happens if "your income in 2011-12 is 10,000 (25,000 prior to 2011-12) more than it was in 2010-11"....ours wasn't so why is there an overpayment?

As mentioned before I've already disputed, which they rejected. I sent another dispute letter in Jan which they ignored. I think my next course is the complaint route but I'd be really grateful if someone could confirm?

Thanks again. This is a nightmare!

Judy
The 10k disregard only applies to the original figure for the year before, so if your inc was 31k in 09-10, your disregard would have been up to 41k in 10-11. By reducing your inc to 25k, the disregard no longer applies for the amounts between 25k and 31k.
By phoning and reducing your est to 25k when in fact it wasn't, the o/p is no-ones fault but your own........Unless your husband had earned much less than 25k by Feb and he earned well over 6k between Feb and start of April, then there would have been no reason for giving the 25k est - pay slips show how much you have earned to date.

Unsure why you are disputing when it was clearly not a TC error??
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# 20
Icequeen99
Old 08-05-2012, 1:50 PM
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This is a common cause of overpayments, and one that isn't successful at disputes because it is how the system works. If you give an estimate, and that estimate turns out to be too low, then you will be overpaid.

However, the overpayment should only equate to whatever extra payments you got from Feb 2011 to April (after you gave the estimated income). Since 2007 they haven't adjusted the whole year when an estimate is given (i.e. they wouldn't have paid you the amount due from April 10 to Feb 2011 based on the estimate, they hold that back to make sure your estimate is correct).

So it may be there is another cause of the overpayment.

I agree with Shedboy, i don't see what you are disputing. To dispute you have to show HMRC did something wrong, but I am not sure what mistake you think HMRC made.

The only time I have had success with cases like this is where the estimate was given based on incorrect advice from HMRC (e.g. they told you something didn't count as income when it did or similar) but otherwise very difficult.

If the overpayment is bigger than the 2 months increase in payments, then I suspect there is another cause and TCO are just telling you the one that is easiest to see.

IQ
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