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n/a
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1 Posts

Posted - 17/02/2008 :  23:34:01  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Looking for advice really. Received a letter from HMRC (TC953) on August 20 2007 advising me that they intend to enquire into my tax credit award for 05/06, i tried calling and have been told several times that it is ongoing and will contact me when enquiry has been completed. Anyone had a TC953 letter and have had any success in finding out any info.

I'd appreciate any advice, thanks

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Sarah
Rank; Captain Gordon



247 Posts

Posted - 19/02/2008 :  12:33:26  Show Profile Send Sarah a Private Message
Hi Lisa,

I'm not certain but this could be an enquiry. All the information I have on these is posted below.

Enquiries

• Enquiries arise following discrepancies, e.g. between tax credit and child benefit claims or self assessment returns etc. An uncorroborated number of random enquiries are carried out each year. Claimants are only told why there an enquiry was conducted following completion of the enquiry.
• Tax Management Act allows for enquiries.
• HMRC guidance states ‘you can ask us to stop our check at any time. If we think we should continue with the check we will ask an independent Appeals Tribunal to decide what should happen. The Tribunal will tell us to stop unless we can convince them that we should be allowed to carry on.’ Downside is you may be presumed to have something to hide by trying to avoid the enquiry (from insider).
• Whilst conducting an enquiry HMRC can request copy bank statements, credit card statements, utility bills, etc.
• For any information you do not have speak to HMRC they may be able to work with you to get the information/answer the question they were really asking.
• Claimants should check if the request for information is formal or informal? Formal is enforceable.
• If you need details of phone conversations with HMRC need to do a SARN (subject access request notification) and send holding letter on enquiry – may be useful to do anyway.
• Requests for information during enquiries potentially breach Article 8 of the Human Rights Act but the get out for HMRC may be ‘protection of the economy’ - need more time to seek legal opinion.
• If at the end of the enquiry HMRC show you have not been compliant they can impose penalties, but how co-operative you are during the enquiry process can reduce the amount of penalty imposed.

Insider Recommendation

• Be honest with them and give them everything they want. They will most likely have all the information anyway and the process is more about how honest you are, whether any discrepancy was deliberate or accidental. HMRC’s thinking is that if you provide the information willingly you are honest, if you try to avoid it you’re not.
• If there is nothing the claimant has done to be classed as non compliant then they need not worry.

SM/PJ Recommendation

1. Send letter of complaint over original request relating to 2001
2. Request copy of relevant section of legislation allowing HMRC to request the information/conduct the enquiry
3. Letter of complaint to Information Commissioner
4. Write to HMRC stating you will not progress the enquiry/provide evidence until you have heard back on points 2 and 3
5. SARN request
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n/a
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10 Posts

Posted - 20/02/2008 :  14:28:54  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
I have one of these letters, same thing, same date.

I presume it's random. My claim was only worth a couple of hundred pounds (most of which was used towards overpayments), so I was surprised to get that letter.

They haven't asked me for anything and as I'm self employed they can easily cross reference my tax return and see my figures are correct.

I called them and asked about it, they said they had no record of an enquiry into my tax credits. I'm not sure if that is because they don't put a note on the computer or what.

But on top of worrying about the massive overpayments from the early years, I now have to worry about this as well.
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Sarah
Rank; Captain Gordon



247 Posts

Posted - 20/02/2008 :  22:19:21  Show Profile Send Sarah a Private Message
Hi Worried,

If your self employed do you use an accountant? If so can they shed any light on these letters as they will be experienced in handling enquiries?
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n/a
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1 Posts

Posted - 23/02/2008 :  10:28:14  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
This is my first post and the first time I have found this forum so I hope you can help me.

I have recieved a letter this morning from HMRC saying they are enquiring into my award.

The enquiry will check that I have correctly told them about my family and personal circumstances and income for the year ended 5th April 2007.

They then ask for the following information to be sent to them before 25th March 2008

Disability Living Allowance reward for 2 of my children.

I stopped getting Disability living allowance for the children befoe 2006 and Im sure I called the helpline to tell them this. I cant remember the dates I stopped getting the benefits but now Im panicking because it looks like I have been geeting enhanced tax credits for the 2 children, Im not sure how much it will be or how I reply to thier letter.
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splashin
Rank; Really should become a politician



Belize
730 Posts

Posted - 24/02/2008 :  08:31:16  Show Profile Send splashin a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa

Looking for advice really. Received a letter from HMRC (TC953) on August 20 2007 advising me that they intend to enquire into my tax credit award for 05/06, i tried calling and have been told several times that it is ongoing and will contact me when enquiry has been completed. Anyone had a TC953 letter and have had any success in finding out any info.

I'd appreciate any advice, thanks



Lisa

It seems to me that these are compliance enquiry letters. Compliance are the team who investigate claimants and there claims to see if genuine. There is also another member who has posted regarding this same letter and they state that their claim was minimal and I get the impression short lived. Have you maybe swooped from single to joint claim during the time claiming tax credits?
And for the other member who has also had this letter have you now stopped getting tax credits?

If this is a Yes to both, then I personally believe these are being sent to all claimants who have had a 'FRESH' claim at some point. The reasons I don't want to disclose right now as they may be incorrect. But when I get a feeling about something I usually hit the nail on the head.



Splashin
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n/a
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29 Posts

Posted - 16/03/2008 :  20:47:35  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
i haven't heard anything since august and i haven't claimed for nearly 2 years now. why would they need to investigate in i dont even claim and ive paid back my overpayment. i was hoping i would see the last of them. angi did you get a letter in august too?
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n/a
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29 Posts

Posted - 16/03/2008 :  20:58:11  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
ive just found this



Tax credit administration errors

On 25 July 2007, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Kennedy MP, issued a statement relating to administrative errors concerning some finalised awards for 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2005/06. The finalised award is a conclusive award and can only be revised under certain legal provisions. However some finalised awards were corrected – following information passed to the Revenue – using an incorrect procedure. Beth Lakhani looks at what this means for the awards concerned and provides some detail of the enquiry process.

Correct procedure for revising a finalised award
Cases relating to 2003/04 and 2004/05
Case example
Cases relating to 2005/06
The enquiry process
Timing of enquiries and revised 2005/06 decisions

Correct procedure for revising a finalised award
A finalised award can only be revised (other than on appeal) using the following legal provisions in the Tax Credit Act 2002:

* Enquiry (s.19) – a power to investigate and revise decisions.
* Discovery (s.20) – this power can for example be used if tax liability changes the potential tax credit entitlement.
* Revision due to official error (s.21) – but this can only be done in the claimant’s favour and if the claimant applies for a revision.

There are time limits which restrict the operation of these powers; in particular it is now too late to use the enquiry process to correct the finalised decisions for 2003/04 and 2004/05. We understand that enquiries will be used to correct the decisions made for 2005/06.

Cases relating to 2003/04 and 2004/05
The Revenue is to carry out reviews of the 160,000 awards incorrectly revised in 2003/04 and 2004/05, and all decisions in relation to these years will be made in the claimants’ favour. We understand that claimants have been sent an initial letter (coded TC 954) telling them that a review is to take place but that they are not required to take any action. Further contact will be made with the claimants when the award has been reviewed.

Any finalised award which has been changed by an incorrect method is an invalid decision, therefore the decision that should stand is the finalised award. Any underpayments relating to 2003/04 and 2004/05 will be made good and any overpayments identified will not have to be repaid.

Case example
A claimant fails to declare that one of her children has left home in December 2004 so she no longer counts as responsible for that child. The claimant reports this fact late (after the renewal period April to September 2005) and a finalised award is issued based on the information that there were two children in the household throughout 2004/05 rather than until December 2004. The award is then corrected to reflect the late information. This is incorrect procedure.

To correct the finalised award in this situation, the Revenue should have carried out an enquiry (however brief) and then issued a new decision. The valid decision on entitlement for 2004/05 is the one based on an award including two children in the family for the whole year. Any overpayment arising from the corrected award will have been based on a decision that is not valid. This means that any collected overpayment is repayable to the claimant, and therefore, due to the Revenue correcting the finalised awards by the wrong process, some claimants will end up being paid more than their entitlement for the years 2003/04 and 2004/05.

This only applies to overpayments that are identified and collected as a result of an incorrect process. It does not mean that other overpayments will not be collected, a story which has been reported in some newspapers and on some websites.

In cases where the incorrect process produced an underpayment, the Revenue will have paid a lump sum to make good the underpayment. The Revenue will not seek to recover that lump sum.

Cases relating to 2005/06
A further 90,000 cases will be reviewed relating to 2005/06 finalised awards.

We understand that claimants whose finalised awards were incorrectly revised will be subject to the enquiry process and will have been sent letters (coded TC953) so that the investigation can be started within the time frame allowed. There is no guarantee in this case that the outcome will be favourable and it will be important for claimants whose entitlement has changed as a result to consider appealing the decision if there is any doubt about its correctness.

Advisers may want to request copies of award notices for 2005/06 and details of how the new entitlement has been calculated if the decision is adverse to the claimant.

Arguably, any overpayment recovered (based on an invalid revision) before the enquiry process began should be repaid to the claimant. In any case, any resulting overpayment should be added to the current overpayment figure (if any) and collected from the date of the new decision.

The enquiry process
An enquiry allows the Revenue to correct and investigate a finalised award and revise their decision. A claimant has a right to halt the enquiry process by applying for a direction to get a decision made. This application should be made in writing to the Revenue, and if the Revenue wants to continue with the enquiry the matter is heard by an appeal tribunal. A decision made on enquiry can also be appealed. The enquiry process can only be used once to revise a previous year’s entitlement.

The Tax Credit Compliance Manual (available at You must be logged in to see this link.) details the enquiry process. If, as a result of the enquiry, the claimant is subject to a penalty and/or interest on an overpayment, it should be noted that the Revenue do not impose penalties on those who cannot afford to pay. So, regardless of the failure by the claimant to make correct statements or provide information, the policy on the imposition of penalties and interest on overpayments for those on low incomes should be strictly limited.

Timing of enquiries and revised 2005/06 decisions
An enquiry cannot be carried out at any time – it must be started within a set time. In most cases the window closes one year after the deadline for returning the declaration of income (for 2005/06 this was 31 August 2006), thus the deadline for opening the enquiry is 31 August 2007.

In some cases, this will be a later date where the renewal papers were sent out later – a year after the date specified in the end-of-year notice requesting confirmation of income. For claimants required to file a tax return, the deadline for initiating an enquiry is the date on which the tax return becomes final. This is usually a year after 31 January following the tax year to which the tax return applies. Thus, for the tax year 2005/06 a return is final on 31 January 2008 and the deadline for the enquiry starting is therefore also 31 January 2008.

If a claimant has a letter after the appropriate deadline in their case, then an enquiry is not an option for the Revenue. We understand that the Revenue has begun enquiries within the deadline in the cases being reviewed, but advisers who have clients affected by this should double-check this.

Welfare Rights Bulletin 200 October 2007
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 20/03/2008 :  08:01:51  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Thanks for this, Furby. Not the easiest read, but useful!

Morpheus: Welcome to the real world.


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n/a
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10 Posts

Posted - 20/03/2008 :  13:09:31  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
I have since received an all clear from HMRC, it seems they had been looking at 2003-4 & 2005-6. They have recently wrote to me saying that they have completed a "review" into 2003-4 and an "enquiry" into 2005-6, in both cases there has been no change to the award.

Both years have been dealt with by different people, the review was done by an assistant officer and the enquiry by "tax credit officer".

As with everything incolving tax credits, it seems complicated. I have 6 sheets of paper relating to this. On both it gives different amounts of overpayment. Neither give a grand total of how much I actually owe in overpayments.

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n/a
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40 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2008 :  13:28:02  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Lisa, this is normal, whether there has been a discrepancy on your claim, or you have just been selected at random.

NO adviser will be able to give you updates on the investigation (nor should they) so dont bother asking, just comply with what the investigator wants and you will be fine.
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