Pensioners and High Income Child Benefit Charge

I am writing to request help/advice regarding appealing against the High Income Child Benefit Charge that has been retrospectively applied to my account. I wish to provide context and explain my current financial situation in the hope of reaching an amicable resolution.

At the outset, I would like to state that when my wife claimed the child benefit, the High Income Child Benefit Charge was not in existence. My understanding was in line with the guidance available at the time, and the decision to claim this benefit was also approved by our accountant, who acted in good faith based on the rules then in place.

Furthermore, I was not the direct claimant of the child benefit; it was claimed by my wife. This distinction is crucial as I was not directly aware or involved in the details of the claim, and thus, was not in a position to anticipate or plan for a future charge that was not legislated at the time.

Currently, I am a pensioner, and this unexpected financial burden, due to its backdated nature, poses a significant challenge to my limited means. As a retiree, my income is fixed, and the financial planning undertaken for my retirement did not account for such unforeseen liabilities. The imposition of this charge, therefore, not only causes undue stress but also financial strain, which I am ill-equipped to manage.

In light of these circumstances, I kindly request guidance in how I may resolve this situation . I am open to providing any further information or documentation that may be necessary for this process. Now payming monthly towards the charge my aim is to seek a waiver or reduction of this charge, given its retrospective application and the financial hardship it imposes on me at this vulnerable stage of my life.

I appreciate your help to this matter and look forward to a considerate review of how I should appeal. Please feel free to contact me for any further clarification or discussion.

Comments

  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,582
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    edited 24 January at 1:46PM
    Colinfinance said:
    Currently, I am a pensioner, and this unexpected financial burden, due to its backdated nature, poses a significant challenge to my limited means. As a retiree, my income is fixed, and the financial planning undertaken for my retirement did not account for such unforeseen liabilities.
    Just my opinion, but I don't think that just being a pensioner in itself would be seen as a reason for the charge to be reduced or waived, although it might be justification for being able to spread the arrears over a period of time (as sounds like may already be happening). Some pensioners still have a significant income. 

    Nor do I suspect that claiming to be unaware of the charge will make much difference - you may find this document of interest
    High Income Child Benefit Charge: awareness, understanding and decision-making processes (publishing.service.gov.uk) 

    Are you eligible for Pension Credit or (if a mixed age couple) Univeral Credit ?
  • Veteransaver
    Veteransaver Posts: 327
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    edited 24 January at 3:32PM
    The child benefit tax charge is a bad policy. Its implementation was terrible, is grossly unfair (Eg 2 earners on less than 50k each still get it whilst a single earner on 60k doesn't get it),  and it contradicts the principle of taxing people individually (there is the argument that your financial affairs are private, even between spouses so how can you be expected to know what the other is earning / claiming?)
    However it wasn't retrospective. Effectively any tax returns you've submitted since it came in (in around 2013?) have been incorrect and you underpaid tax, so you need to pay up, basically.

    Did you submit any tax returns during that period? And is there any scope for any of those years of you being below the 50k threshold, eg.maybe after making pension contributions etc?

    I'm not sure how far back HMRC can go. Do you know how from what tax year they are charging you from?

  • BoGoF
    BoGoF Posts: 6,778
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    Bad policy or not, HMRC have to apply the legislation as laid down by Parliament. There is no scope for a waiver/reduction. Apologies for the bluntness but all that you have wrote is, frankly, irrelevant. 
  • @p00hsticks thanks for your opinion and understand your feedback based on the current state of the charge.

    To help you understand the situation from my perspective and eliminating any thoughts of ignorance or tax evasion from my perspective read the "High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) Qualitative research to test communication products" on the gov website (i am unable to share links) which covers the points raised and the reason for reaching out for guidance.

    As you will see it relates more about the communication and clarification based on the criteria set out back in 2016 compared to today.
  • Spoonie_Turtle
    Spoonie_Turtle Posts: 8,170
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    With respect, I have read both of your posts and maybe it's just the brainfog, but: what is your question?  What help exactly are you seeking?
  • Dazed_and_C0nfused
    Dazed_and_C0nfused Posts: 12,773
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    I think the op meant to send it to their MP as no one else is going to be able to do anything.

    And in honesty I doubt the MP will help much, there seems little appetite from the government to change this.
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 18,636
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    MPs debated the issue  in February 2023.  Despite their   agreement that it is unfair the Government don't seem inclined to review it.
     
    https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2023-02-02/debates/0D9BCE1C-7045-4F71-BDD5-E4597555A09D/HighIncomeChildBenefitCharge
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,582
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    edited 25 January at 10:11AM
    I think the op meant to send it to their MP as no one else is going to be able to do anything.

    And in honesty I doubt the MP will help much, there seems little appetite from the government to change this.
    Or possibly a newcomer who is under the mistaken impression that Martin Lewis himself personally visits and monitors these forums.... 
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