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 Missing phone calls to the 'helpline' ?
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steve1221
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector


United Kingdom
13 Posts

Posted - 19/11/2009 :  13:11:33  Show Profile Send steve1221 a Private Message
Hi All,

Quick question if someone can give me a pointer.

In dispute since 03-04 due to them not acting on a call to the helpline telling them my wife's hours had changed.

Got my CD's and log of calls they can find at the start of this year and was sadly incomplete (there's a surprise then). Wrote to the office months ago and just had a letter back this morning.

They're stating that they can't find the calls BUT they now say I have to provide evidence that the calls were made by getting the log from my phone provider !!

Problem is I called from work (as I would think a lot of people would), I don't have access to that info (employee not management), the company stopped trading over 4 years ago and I have no idea where I'd go to get the info.
I know BT won't give it to me as I have no rights to it?

So, is this a way of them to get out of doing anything ?

Do I have any other recourse now ??

EDIT:

I suppose the question is, is it reasonable for them to ask for this info 7 years after the call?
They had 3 years while I still worked there and had a possibility of getting this for them, but they'd rather argue that the system was perfect and ALL calls were recorded and available. I was even told that by a 'manager'.

Edited by - steve1221 on 26/11/2009 11:13:11

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hyper
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



6 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2010 :  18:28:17  Show Profile Send hyper a Private Message
Hi

Not sure how you will get that info they are requesting.

Did you write to them? Maybe you can say you wrote to them and you have copys of the letter(s) saved on your computer.



Tea or Coffe?
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splashin
Rank; Really should become a politician



Belize
730 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2010 :  21:24:48  Show Profile Send splashin a Private Message
Hi Steve1221

By requesting your Data information from them will prove (somewhere in the paperwork) your call that you made to the helpline. This would be the first thing I would do if you haven't already.




Splashin
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steve1221
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



United Kingdom
13 Posts

Posted - 25/01/2010 :  18:47:38  Show Profile Send steve1221 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by splashin

Hi Steve1221

By requesting your Data information from them will prove (somewhere in the paperwork) your call that you made to the helpline. This would be the first thing I would do if you haven't already.




Splashin



The call in question isn't on the list I've been sent from HMRC.

There are a number of calls which aren't on their supplied list and a number that are blank (ie date, time no logged info and that call isn't on the cd's).

I can prove some of the calls as I refer to them in other calls that are on the cd's, but not this one.

They're now saying they want me to prove that I called them !!

Edited by - steve1221 on 14/02/2010 17:18:13
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splashin
Rank; Really should become a politician



Belize
730 Posts

Posted - 13/02/2010 :  06:07:57  Show Profile Send splashin a Private Message
Hi Steve1221

If you don't have this, check the household notes in your paperwork as there may be an entry from the adviser who took that call, this is usually the procedure when any call is made. All advisor's should update what the call was about and any changes made to your claim, this will be dated.



Splashin

Edited by - splashin on 13/02/2010 06:21:26
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splashin
Rank; Really should become a politician



Belize
730 Posts

Posted - 13/02/2010 :  06:20:00  Show Profile Send splashin a Private Message
Steve1221

Also forgot to mention, during that year 03-04 I know of many people who's calls went astray, this was due to the system being swamped by so much information being held, don't give up on it. If you know that call was made but you haven't got any proof to show because it was so far back, then tell them that, but also tell them you are not responsible for them not having this recording. After all, any call made to the helpline is supposed to be recorded by law, for the safety of the claimant and also the adviser.
Can I also ask the change of hours you told them about, did they go up or down and by how much? If you were also working at that time how many hours were you working? There are only 2 work hour changes that would change your award, going below 16 hours or above 30 hours.


Splashin
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 13/02/2010 :  06:34:27  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Hi Steve,

This LITRG article may help. Towards the end it discusses things you can do if HMRC are not playing ball with recognising your calls. I will see what else I can find.

You must be logged in to see this link.

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 13/02/2010 :  06:39:02  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
This bit in particular:


What if HMRC cannot find any record of the call?

It helps if you have independent verification of having made the call – for example, an entry on a telephone bill. But not everyone uses a landline, and there are no records of calls made from pay-as-you-go mobile phones.

If HMRC deny having any recording of your call, and you cannot provide evidence of having made it, you can apply to the Data Protection Unit for copies of the information you want – for example, CDs of telephone conversations between certain dates, and any contemporaneous records kept of those calls. These are known as ‘subject access requests’, or SARs. For tax credits, SARs should be made to:

HM Revenue & Customs – Tax Credits
Subject Access Request Team
Floor 1 Area E, St Marks House
Stanley Street
Preston, Lancashire PR1 4AT

It is important to follow up these links, because if HMRC have no record of a call, they will proceed as if there had been no call, and find in their own favour in any dispute that turns on the existence of the call. More worryingly, the Adjudicator’s Office has been known to back HMRC up on this (see below).

It is also a good idea, when disputing, to remind HMRC to listen to all relevant phone calls as Step 9 of their manual guidance requires.

Tax credits

In tax credits cases, claimants often object to having to repay an overpayment which they think is not their fault. HMRC’s practice in such cases is set out in a code of practice, COP26. That document clearly states that an overpayment can be written off if the claimant has met all of their responsibilities, but HMRC did not meet all of theirs.

A claimant meets his or her responsibilities if, among other things, he or she tells HMRC promptly about any changes of circumstances and notifies them of any mistakes in their award notice. HMRC fails to meet all of their responsibilities if, for example, they do not process a change in circumstances notified them by the claimant, or the helpline gives wrong or misleading advice.

In her 2008 annual report, on page 27, the Adjudicator recounts a tax credits case where the claimants were asked to produce telephone bills showing certain calls made to the helpline in 2003/04 and 2004/05, but they were unable to do so. The claimants said that the purpose of the calls had been to update the Tax Credit Office (TCO) about their income, but because the TCO had no records of their calls, the resulting overpayment was fully recoverable. Because the claimants could not produce their telephone bills for the period, the Adjudicator (incorrectly, in our view) upheld HMRC’s view.

During 2006, however, it emerged that during 2003/04 and 2004/05 more than 630,000 calls to the tax credits helpline were re-routed to private operators, who did not keep recordings. (LITRG raised this matter in evidence to the Treasury Sub-Committee of MPs in 2007) This gave rise to calls for HMRC to give the benefit of the doubt to claimants who said they had called the tax credits helpline during that time. In the minutes of the meeting of the Tax Credits Consultation Group on 4 December 2008, HMRC stated their position as follows:

‘Representatives asked about disputes involving telephone calls that were made during the period when not all calls were recorded. For calls made in this period where there is no record held, the claimant should be given the benefit of the doubt and staff dealing with disputes are aware of this.’

Take action

The problem of untraceable or missing telephone recordings has not gone away, and given that a lack of evidence will often tell against the claimant and in favour of HMRC, the need for claimants – and anyone contacting HMRC by phone – to follow the advice in this article is more pressing than ever.

It could be in everyone’s interest if HMRC warned callers to make a note of the call that they are about to make.


You must be logged in to see this link.


Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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splashin
Rank; Really should become a politician



Belize
730 Posts

Posted - 13/02/2010 :  07:10:22  Show Profile Send splashin a Private Message
Thats really interesting and it's very true because I was there.

Splashin
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steve1221
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



United Kingdom
13 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2010 :  13:15:04  Show Profile Send steve1221 a Private Message

Thanks for feedback people.

I've written to them telling them I have no access to the info, that it's their job to ensure they have it, that the AO and the Tax Credits Consultation Group (info above) state that no recordings should not be held against the claimant and that the 'claimant should be given the benefit of the doubt' as stated above, plus a few other points.

I've just had a letter back, well I say a letter. It runs 4 lines and says they can't find the call in question. Well, yes. I know that. I have FOUR other letters saying the same thing.

They ignore all the other points I raised.

How do you get them to respond in an intelligent way ? Or is that too much to expect ?

I've already written to the AO and they passed it back to HMRC because I hadn't had a final letter or something. But if HMRC refuse to answer the points raised how are you suppoed to proceed ?

(someone pass me a wall, so I can bang my head against it!).
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splashin
Rank; Really should become a politician



Belize
730 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2010 :  19:44:05  Show Profile Send splashin a Private Message
Hi Steve

Are HMRC saying your overpayment occurred because you failed to inform them of your wifes hours changing during the tax year?

Is there any other reasons given by HMRC?



Splashin
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samthe
Mod



341 Posts

Posted - 04/03/2010 :  10:33:31  Show Profile Send samthe a Private Message
The AO is supposed to tell HMRC to get their finger out & send you a final leter - or resolve the issue themselves. Go back to the AO's office, tell them you are totally frustrated & ask for them to do this.
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steve1221
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



United Kingdom
13 Posts

Posted - 04/03/2010 :  14:04:44  Show Profile Send steve1221 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by splashin

Hi Steve

Are HMRC saying your overpayment occurred because you failed to inform them of your wifes hours changing during the tax year?

Is there any other reasons given by HMRC?

Splashin



That's the first half yes. I called them in Sept (my wife works in a school and changed from part time to full). I gave them all the info and they did nothing about it and now they can't find the call !
I've been talking to them about this for 7 years now and getting really fed up with it.
The calls list I've been sent has holes in it (which they won't comment on). In a call I make reference to other calls which aren't even on the list at all (which they won't comment on).

My last call to the 'helpline' the guy said 'Oh, yes. We all know about those, the calls went to call centres where there was no computer input and they wrote it all down, but loads of the notes were never entered into the system!'

Great, so their using their own rubbish system against us !

(Sorry, rant over)...

Edited by - steve1221 on 04/03/2010 17:25:32
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 04/03/2010 :  19:16:33  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
<< My last call to the 'helpline' the guy said 'Oh, yes. We all know about those, the calls went to call centres where there was no computer input and they wrote it all down, but loads of the notes were never entered into the system!' >>

Wonderful!

It would have been nice if you had a note of "the guy's" name and date & time of this convo - or better yet, your own recording of it.

More & more I'm thinking we really should be making our own recordings of every conversation we have with these people whether it be by telephone or face-to-face.

Our needs - and rights - have to be protected and if no bugger else will do it, then we have to do it ourselves and to Hell with the niceties and legality or otherwise of it.!!

I've said before on this forum that we're fighting a dirty war and the way to win it is to fight dirty ourselves. They don't play by the "rules" - they constantly ignore, change and bend them - so why should we?

And yes, I am a belligerent, cynical old Geordie bastard, but I'm a belligerent, cynical old Geordie bastard who WON his case!!




"The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions.

In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed."

Adolf Hitler
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steve1221
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



United Kingdom
13 Posts

Posted - 14/05/2010 :  13:42:48  Show Profile Send steve1221 a Private Message
Bit of an update (again).

I had another letter from them saying the same as the last 3. And giving me a named person to call if I wanted to talk to someone !
Do they think we're all stupid, using the phone's how I got into this mess in the first place. I've written to them again, outlining the issues (again) and pointing out the AO were asking for clarification which they haven't yet bothered to supply. We'll see if I get just a 5th letter saying the same as the rest or something new.

Alan. I take your point. I've requested a new set of logs/CD and hope to have the info from 'the guy' when they get their act together and fill the request.

Edited by - steve1221 on 15/05/2010 13:16:35
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 14/05/2010 :  18:55:13  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
<< Alan. I take your point. I've requested a new set of logs/CD and hope to have the info from 'the guy' when they get their act together and fill the request. >>



Good lad!!

Yer larnin'


"The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions.

In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed."

Adolf Hitler
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splashin
Rank; Really should become a politician



Belize
730 Posts

Posted - 21/05/2010 :  12:51:53  Show Profile Send splashin a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by steve1221

quote:
Originally posted by splashin

Hi Steve1221

By requesting your Data information from them will prove (somewhere in the paperwork) your call that you made to the helpline. This would be the first thing I would do if you haven't already.






The call in question isn't on the list I've been sent from HMRC.

There are a number of calls which aren't on their supplied list and a number that are blank (ie date, time no logged info and that call isn't on the cd's).

I can prove some of the calls as I refer to them in other calls that are on the cd's, but not this one.

They're now saying they want me to prove that I called them !!



Hi Steve

You need to chill on these call's. I don't think I can recall anyone who has successfully disputed an overpayment because of the call recordings. And I heard some terrible call recordings in my time. I would like to know pretty pls, How much you were supposedly overpaid, was the only reason TCO gave you how the overpayment occurred down to the fact your wife hours changed? I personally don't think a change of working hours from part to full would cause any problem, because you were working and satisfied the criteria for the award.
How much was total overpayment?
If your wife's hours increased, then her income would also increase. Do you think this is what might have caused the overpayment. How much of an increase did your wife get that tax year with regards to income?



Splashin
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steve1221
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



United Kingdom
13 Posts

Posted - 21/05/2010 :  13:35:21  Show Profile Send steve1221 a Private Message
Hi Splashin,

OK. Its a little over £3000 over 2 years.

Year 1 (03-04).
My wife was a nursery nurse and moved from part time supply to full time (term time). I called the helpline in Sept to tell them her change of hour and her new pay. Come the review in the next April they say we didn't call them and we owe something just under £2000 (I don't have the exact numbers with me). The increase was something like 6k to 10k, so not a lot.

In the June/July I contacted my MP to get this sorted and get payments stopped as we didn't want this to happen again as they were proving to be impossible to deal with.
They refused to stop, refused to 'hold' payments until we had this sorted out and insisted (through the MPs's hotline) that they had our info correct. They flatly refused to give a reason. Next year, again we're told we were overpaid by a little over £1000 (even though they insisted they had it right and wouldn't take the info again through the MP's hotline).

They say they can't find the call in Sept 03 and therefore it didn't take place. I was even told my someone calming to be a manager in CS some 3 years ago that all calls were recorded and were available and if it wasn't there then I didn't call them ! Somewhat at odds's with the info that Ali gives above.

They finally gave a reason for not stopping payment in a letter in Nov 09 (4 years after it would have been any use) saying that they can't stop as it might create 'hardship'! Well, as they got the numbers wrong (even though that said they had them right) they had no way of knowing if they'd create hardship or not!

I've got logs of calls and a CD which shows the call in question isn't there, but listening to the calls it's clear that a number of other calls aren't there as well as I make reference to them and there not listed on the log or the CD. Also some calls are listed with a date and time but with no other info and no recording on the CD !

Edited by - steve1221 on 21/05/2010 16:17:02
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steve1221
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



United Kingdom
13 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2010 :  09:48:45  Show Profile Send steve1221 a Private Message

Well another months goes by and another letter from HMRC saying (and I don't know why I'm surprised) the same as all the rest!

No answers to any of the questions I raised in the last one, just repeating everything they've said before.

It does seem impossible to get an answer out of them even when you request one. Again they've given me a number and name to call.

I'm think of going back to my MP? The last one was useless, just passing letters from me to them and back. But he lost the election and I've a new one in now. I'm thinking it might be worth a punt. I've seen reports of some MP's getting a result?
Any thoughts guys ?
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2010 :  12:58:15  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
<< I'm think of going back to my MP? The last one was useless, just passing letters from me to them and back. But he lost the election and I've a new one in now. I'm thinking it might be worth a punt. >>

I agree steve.

I think that the more MPs get involved at the sharp end of this farce, the sooner it will get sorted!

"The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions.

In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed."

Adolf Hitler
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splashin
Rank; Really should become a politician



Belize
730 Posts

Posted - 19/06/2010 :  19:24:15  Show Profile Send splashin a Private Message
Hi Steve

In your SAR paperwork, do you have any screen shots with a title C.M.A ? These are very different from the NTC screen shots. If you do have a little look to see if there are any dates visible. Also look in the screen shots of Household Notes there could be some information to prove these calls where made. This information should be somewhere, so have a look into it.



Splashin
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