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Ponomis
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector


4 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2010 :  20:54:14  Show Profile Send Ponomis a Private Message
Hi,

When I first posted on this forum 8 months ago I was naive and confused about the tax credits system and my post made it seem like I didn't have much of a chance. Anyway, now I've been obsessed with the system for so long I feel like I have a chance. I just want to post where I'm at, at the moment, and see if anyone else has any advice.......

Anyway, here goes.....
-22 August 2008, TCO incorrectly records that my wife is in receipt of income support from 22 May 2008. This has been admitted by them after my initial TC846.

-27 August 2008, we receive previous year final statement aswell as current year award notice. I immidiately realise that our payments have gone up, but can't figure out why as my attention is drawn mainly to the 2007/2008 final year award notice that mentions my wife "received Income support" in the past tense which was correct as she had for a few weeks in the previous year. I ring them straight away to discuss my claim and say I think I am being overpaid. I am clearly heard on the call saying that we do not receive IS and that statement being acknowldeged. We go through my claim completely and confirm everything that we submitted in our renewal. I am assured by agent that as long as all the information I have given him is accurate then there is nothing to worry about.

-01 September 2008, Still slightly concerned that we are receiving the wrong amount, I call back again. Go through the same process with different agent and it is crystal clear when she asks if my wife receives income support and I say no. She also assures me that everything will be fine as she has double checked all aspects of our claim and not to worry.

Throughout 2008/2009-2009/2010 my claim/payments remain the same as my personal details haven't changed and in our renewal for 2009/2010 we DID NOT tick the box indicating anyone claimed IS.

-20 April 2010, We receive our award for 2010/2011 and are shocked that the payments more or less stayed the same as I had just received a 10K payrise. We immidiately call TCO and discover that they have an IS marker down for my wife. Then I begin my appeal.

My argument is that they have admitted incorrectly recording IS on our claim. They also admit that I told them we weren't in receipt of IS 2 and 4 days after we receive the updated award in 2008. Now COP 26 states that they will not reclaim any overpayment that builds up due to them not correcting an error we have told them about. I know I should have read my subsequnt awards more carefully, but because my circumstances hadn't changed and I had been advised by two "professionals" that everything was fine, I thought everything was good.

To me, it is pretty cut and dry. They made the mistake which they've admitted to and I've informed them immidiately, which they failed to act on. I have both of these errors in writing on serparte letters from them. Surely, if they stick to their own COP, I should not have to pay back any money. However, I have just had to send off my third letter as they are completely ignoring the facts which they have already admitted to and not addressing any of my points in my letters. I have also sent a letter to my MP and their Chief executive today.

They are asking for 5,300 which they will claim back through future claims. However, I will not have a TC claim after next year, and therefore will most likely be asked for the full amount. I'm fully aware that it was never my money to begin with, but I refuse to give in on principle and because of the way we have been treated and the bad advice I received. I know they will come back saying the same thing, so what, if anything, should I do next? Pressure my MP? Go to the media?

Thanks!

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samthe
Mod



341 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2010 :  20:13:53  Show Profile Send samthe a Private Message
My reading of what you say is that you received award notices after you notified them of the error, & that these award notices still contained the incorrect information (i.e. they said your wife was on IS). You did nothing to notify them of the incorrect information on these awards. Their approach is that you should have noticed the errors and told them again...and again...and again. The way they work is that, even if they have cocked up, if you have also failed to meet your responsibilities the overpayment can be recovered. You will see something to this effect in COP26.

If what I have said is correct, that is why they are still saying you have to pay the money back. But you have clear evidence that you told them on 2 occasions in 2008 that she was not getting IS. They should take this into account - there is something in their overpayment guidance which indicates that where both they & the claimant are at fault they can reduce the amount to be recovered.

Once you have exhausted TCO's own complaints process you can go to the Independent Adjudicator & - if still not satisfied - via your MP to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. This process can take years.

But they will not necessarily defer recovery all that time. So long as you are claiming TCs they will deduct from the payments - generally 25%. Once you stop claiming they will demand the rest of the money back. But don't be fooled by them demanding immediate payment - they will readily accept payment over up to 3 years & sometimes (depending on your finances) up to 10 years.
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Ponomis
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



4 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2010 :  07:02:43  Show Profile Send Ponomis a Private Message
I see what you are saying, but having read COP 26 again cover to cover again, it clearly says in black and white, if I contact them about a mistake and they fail to correct it I am not responsible for any overpayment that may build up. It says nothing at all about having to contact them multiple times over the same mistake.

Their responsibilities say that

- when a person contacts them for information they will give you the correct advice based on that information and that they'll support you and walk you through a claim.
- When you renew a claim they will accurately record the data.
- When you contact them about a claim they will fix it within 30 days etc.
- When they send you an award notice they will inlcude the correct info and if there is a mistake they will fix it.

They have let me down in all 4 of their responsibilities.

The only one I didn't meet technically meet, and this is due to their advice is
-Tell them if their is a problem after each award, etc.

However, it doesn't matter, as it says nothing about having to keep informing them of a mistake time and time again. It's not my problem they didn't fix the mistake in the first place.

If my current step doesn't work, then I'm going to start sending a letter every single day to the same people until they get sick of me. If they are never going to write it off, then my goal over the next few years will be to make them spend as much money on me as possible. I'll leave the country before I give them a penny.



Edited by - Ponomis on 11/12/2010 10:57:33
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samthe
Mod



341 Posts

Posted - 13/12/2010 :  21:27:20  Show Profile Send samthe a Private Message
I quite see what you are saying, but with each award notice you get a sheet of paper which tells you various things you should do with it. Among them is checking the info. on the award & notifying them of any errors. I suspect it is the fact that you didn't do so that they will be relying on.

I fully support you in going on fighting this, but don't just go on with letters to TCO. Do follow the procedure as I set out in my first post.
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