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35 Posts

Posted - 18/05/2007 :  22:15:13  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
My spouse and I are being pursued for WTC overpayments and we have a County Court Case hearing next month (Small Claims track). The IR has behaved abysmally throughout this matter - we were informed their Claim was suspended pending dispute resolution when we phoned up to tell them that their calculations were incorrect. Shockingly they ignored this and issued a County Court claim regardless (we now have received SAR document proof that this was the case).

We did not actually receive the payments through the PAYE system that the Revenue are claiming back - but they have so far failed to work with us to sort this out.

We are very confident (admittedly from a lay-person's viewpoint) that our defence is very persuasive on multiple points, but nevertheless we are obviously concerned about defendant's evidence not being considered, having found this forum and read some of the posts about unfair hearings.

We have had no Claim documents from the revenue, no breakdowns of their calculations (we have requested this many times) and there are even discrepancies in the dates in the Revenue's Statement of Debt. We served our defence on the Revenue and filed with the Court but they have served nothing on us, and although we have yet to get any confirmation (I have written to the court to enquire) I suspect that the IR have merely sent copies of the Statements Of Debt to the Court without any real case documents to back them up.

Our dilemma at this point seems to be that some people are finding that they turn up in Court expecting a fair hearing only to find that the Judge rules in the IR's favour simply on the basis of the Statement of Debt and does not even consider the defendant's case. I find it hard to believe that there can be no successful defence against a Statement of Debt - surely a valid defence will be heard?

We are perhaps foolishly confident that we can persuade any reasonable Judge that the IR claim has to be thrown out but the suggestion is that his/her hands are tied and we will not get a fair hearing.

So the question is - with a few weeks to our hearing, should we take any other action now? For example - should be get our MP to help at this point? Do we try to get the Court to adjourn the hearing on account of the outstanding investigations and our Letter of Complaint to the Tax Office which has yet to be actioned properly - although bizarrely they have told us they will be sending us £50 for not dealing with us properly - whilst still suing us for £thousands!

Thanks for any insights offered.

Underdog

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sammy
Rank; Really should become a politician



690 Posts

Posted - 18/05/2007 :  22:54:56  Show Profile Send sammy a Private Message
Hi underdog, I have been through it. My first hearing was adjourned because they 'did not have facts together'. The judge granted the adjournment without bother. The second hearing (6-weeks later) I was found guilty without even being able to offer evidence. The judge explained to me the reasons. Once the revenue say you are guilty, you are, so long as they have their papers and importantly the self issued certificte.

The judge cannot do nothing but award judgment against you, he is only there for that reason.

I know you may find this difficult to believe but I'm afraid it is true.

The revenue will try all manor of dirty tricks, they may even phone you on the day of the hearing telling you not to bother turning up as they will be telling the judge they want an adjournment.

In actual fact you may as well not turn up, but the revenue do not want you there for other reasons, bad publicity etc..

The hearing is conducted in private the press cannot listen in, you are not allowed to ask a friend, family etc (unless prior notified with the summons), no member of the public can listen in.

It is a kangaroo court, fit for despot ran nations only. I thought exactly like you. Unfortunately there is no justice.

You should contact your MP here You must be logged in to see this link. also write to him/her snail mail. Ask him/her to investigate.

Check out things to do here also
You must be logged in to see this link.

You must try to get the hearing delayed



Edited by - sammy on 18/05/2007 22:59:47
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Robert
Admin



United Kingdom
829 Posts

Posted - 18/05/2007 :  23:06:16  Show Profile Send Robert a Private Message
Welcome underdog.. you are right in your assumption about the revenue ,if they take you to court .will simply produce a piece of paper to say you owe them.. case proved.,there is no defence ..

If you are still in dispute. the case should be stopped according to the HMRC rules..go with sammys advice and look at the

other part/forum of the tax credit casualties.at You must be logged in to see this link. it will show

you what you need to do to get the case stopped..

The truth is out there.. GO get it..


Edited by - Robert on 18/05/2007 23:06:52
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sammy
Rank; Really should become a politician



690 Posts

Posted - 18/05/2007 :  23:12:21  Show Profile Send sammy a Private Message
In case you are wondering; I didn't get my case stopped because at the time I didn't know I could. I also foolishly thought I could not lose. I have masses of evidence against them. They even lied to my MP which would have been my trump card but hey why let the truth get in the way of a revenue judgement.
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Alan the Geordie
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3032 Posts

Posted - 19/05/2007 :  00:20:24  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
Welcome underdog.

You have asked;

<<should be get our MP to help at this point? Do we try to get the Court to adjourn the hearing on account of the outstanding investigations and our Letter of Complaint to the Tax Office which has yet to be actioned properly>>

The answer is yes on all points and if your letter of complaint still hasn't been actioned properly I suggest that you make a complaint about that too. Send all your letters by Recorded Delivery and send copies to Gordon Brown, Dawn Primarolo and Richard Summersgill.

Remember to mark the envelopes and every sheet of paper COMPLAINT in nice big letters - just so that they know.

Also go to your Citizens Advice Bureau and get them involved and give them copies of every letter that you write to HMRC and your MP.

HMRC don't like the media getting involved and their own guidlines say so. So, how about letting as many newspapers, radio stations and TV stations know what's happening to you?

They're a bunch of arrogant incompetent bullying bastards and they can be beaten, but maybe not by fair means.
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n/a
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35 Posts

Posted - 19/05/2007 :  09:52:52  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Hello again all,

Many thanks for taking the time to reply.

This is appalling. We would (will?) be devastated to have our defence ignored, as you guys must have been. I have noted all the advice here and I have 'that sinking feeling' at the moment. If our MP is not on the ball, or the IR hoodwinks him somehow, we may not get it stopped in time but sounds like we have to give it our best shot ASAP.

I am not dubious of your experiences in any way but can I ask how many instances of defence not being heard do we all know of?

Is it really the case that nobody has been able to present a successful defence against an IR Certificate Of Debt regarding overpayment of Tax Credits?

The idea of not being able to offer evidence is bizarre. We have spent enormous time and effort writing and filing a detailed defence with the court. Alas our SAR documents have only just arrived long after we filed our defence so we have not yet submitted them as further evidence but would expect to be able to do so if necessary.

So can I ask what may seem like a dumb question in light of your responses - what precisely do we all mean by a defence not being heard? We have already filed our defence statement and documents with the court and served it on the Inland Revenue as instructed by the Court. This includes a multi page case history, supporting documents as well as multiple key bullets on the first page explaining why the Claim is unreasonable. So does the Judge say something like "I will not read or take into consideration any of this?" despite having been lodged with the Court? And does he explain why - does he really state that there is "No Defence against a Certificate of Debt"? I would imagine that many defendants would completely lose it at this point! When did the IR become 'Infallible' i.e. assumed to be incapable of error - as such a one-sided judgment would indicate?

By contrast the revenue missed the deadline for filing their case and the Court obligingly extended the deadline for them. The IR eventually filed something last week but served nothing on us simultaneously as per the Court's Order - we now realise/presume that they are relying on the Certificates of Debt - which is after all just a sheet of paper saying you owe us money. I have applied to the Court to have the case struck out as per their court order because the IR failed to serve their claim on us simultaneously with filing by the due date, but the Court has been seemingly more than willing to help the IR so far so I expect they will decline to do so.

At least I hope to find out what they have lodged with the court prior to the hearing.

I would reiterate we are going through the Small Claims Court track - is this the same track that you guys had your defences ignored in?

By the way - we got help from the CAB - as far as I know they have never mentioned this possibility of losing without our defence being heard.

They seemed to think that we stand a very good chance of winning so if you guys are correct in predicting the certain outcome of a hearing I am extremely annoyed that the CAB has lulled us into a false sense of confidence and has not advised us to avoid a hearing at all costs - surely they should know better?

Underdog
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Robert
Admin



United Kingdom
829 Posts

Posted - 19/05/2007 :  10:02:11  Show Profile Send Robert a Private Message
Hi.. underdog...Sammy was taken to court,with large amounts of evidence against the HMRC.but all the HMRC did, was produce the
certificate ( self issued ) to say he owed the money.case proved.if the HMRC say you owe.you owe..they seem, to be able to get away with anything they like.they will adjourn the case, on that day.or they will say it is adjourned,so you dont turn up.

What these guys dont like is adverse publicity..so go get some...

The truth is out there.. GO get it..

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n/a
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35 Posts

Posted - 19/05/2007 :  10:35:36  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Robert

Hi.. underdog...Sammy was taken to court,with large amounts of evidence against the HMRC.but all the HMRC did, was produce the
certificate ( self issued ) to say he owed the money.case proved.if the HMRC say you owe.you owe..they seem, to be able to get away with anything they like.



As I am frantically playing catch-up here, I'd really like to understand this Court process (or lack of it) in more detail:

Was a detailed defence filed with the Court prior to the hearing?

If so, what precisely did the Judge say about it during the hearing?

Was the case in question heard in a Small Claims Court?

How many other examples do we know of and did a Certificate of Debt render any Defence irrelevant in every case?

quote:

they will adjourn the case, on that day.or they will say it is adjourned,so you dont turn up.



Surely only the Court can adjourn a hearing, not HMRC? I'll certainly be wary of any such HMRC tricks.

Thanks again!

Underdog
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sammy
Rank; Really should become a politician



690 Posts

Posted - 19/05/2007 :  10:53:28  Show Profile Send sammy a Private Message
Hello again, let me explain exactly what the judge said to me.
I was just about to explain to the judge what evidence I had, the judge interupted me and said 'Mr xxxxx do you know how this court works' I replied I think so, but not entirely sure. He said 'then let me explain to you' the revenue have produced the certificate today, there is nothing I can do, I am sorry'. 'The revenue have asked for a judgment against you and the judgment will be granted. No matter what you have or say.

He then read out the figures, £2163 plus £110.00 costs.

I was not told how or when to pay or how long I have to pay.
I still have not paid, I presume they will get in touch eventually!

This is a month ago, the alledged overpayment was for 2003-4. So nearly 4 years I have been banging my head against the wall. I will not bore you with details but they could not win in a fair hearing, the evidence I have against them is overwhelming.

I'm not sure how many have been denied a defence but I'm quite sure the figures will be significant. With reporting restictions in place it would be difficult to say.
The government have resently stated that 32,000 have been taken to court this past year, but they failed to point out how many were denied a defence.

Once the revenue have the certificate you cannot win. Also just to cheer you up, you will also be denied access to a duty solicitor in court.

Section 29 empower HMRC to use the Taxes Management Act 1970, which means that a signed certificate by a tax official is meant to be sufficient evidence of the debt for the Court.

I have decided to go the human rights way where it states everyone is entitled to a fair trial. The revenue though are trying to box clever where they say 'we are not sure if our penalties are criminal' Well if I don't pay they will have to take criminal action against me in a 'real court'



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sammy
Rank; Really should become a politician



690 Posts

Posted - 19/05/2007 :  11:09:16  Show Profile Send sammy a Private Message
Yes I thought only a judge could adjourn the hearing but apparently not.
Yes I did file a defence with the summons it was not considered.

Small claims court.

Before the hearing some guy will ask to speak to you in private, beware, he/she will be a revenue official, they will simply be fishing for what you have, if they have not got certificate in place they will ask for an adjournment, and it will be granted. The judge will give 6-weeks. (or thats what they got at my hearing) Your hope is they mess up and don't get certificate in time for next hearing.

3 days before my next hearing the revenue called me and said 'don't bother turning up at court because we are going ask for a further adjournment' Yeah right I thought, I aint having that...anyhow I did turn up but the revenue did not ask for a further adjournment instead they asked the judge to grant them the judgement, the 'certificate' had mysteriously appeared!
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sammy
Rank; Really should become a politician



690 Posts

Posted - 19/05/2007 :  11:34:02  Show Profile Send sammy a Private Message
>By the way - we got help from the CAB - as far as I know they have never mentioned this possibility of losing without our defence being heard.>

There are reletively few court cases the vast majority never get that far, they are 'settled internally' Many just have payments reduced the following year, many pay back over 12-months, some get the overpayments wrote off. In all, I think last year there were 372,000 cases, so less than 10% end up in court.

The Cab guy you spoke to is not alone in his thinking, I know a magistrate who was also unaware of the revenues absolute power.

It was the cab forum where I did find the ' Section 29 empower HMRC to use the Taxes Management Act 1970' but I can't find the thread, so some guys at cab do know.

You may want to trawl through
You must be logged in to see this link.
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n/a
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35 Posts

Posted - 19/05/2007 :  12:40:00  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by sammy

Before the hearing some guy will ask to speak to you in private, beware, he/she will be a revenue official, they will simply be fishing for what you have, if they have not got certificate in place they will ask for an adjournment, and it will be granted. The judge will give 6-weeks. (or thats what they got at my hearing) Your hope is they mess up and don't get certificate in time for next hearing.

3 days before my next hearing the revenue called me and said 'don't bother turning up at court because we are going ask for a further adjournment' Yeah right I thought, I aint having that...anyhow I did turn up but the revenue did not ask for a further adjournment instead they asked the judge to grant them the judgement, the 'certificate' had mysteriously appeared!

Alas Certificates of Debt were issued months ago so I guess we are already stuffed there.

I can't see why the Revenue would need to go sniffing as to what we have though - if as you say a Certificate of Debt trumps any defence why would they bother? We did have a preliminary hearing scheduled some weeks back but it got vacated for some reason - I think next month's hearing looks more like a final shafting session.

A couple of points though - two aspects of our defence are (by no means the only ones):

Firstly the Summons was issued while a dispute was open which is contrary to HMRC published procedures.

Secondly they have inconsistent dates (i.e. different tax years) between their Certificates of Debt and the original Claim against us.

Can the Judge really ignore these two points?

quote:
Originally posted by sammy
With reporting restictions in place it would be difficult to say.
What reporting restrictions are in place?

Thanks again,

Underdog
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sammy
Rank; Really should become a politician



690 Posts

Posted - 19/05/2007 :  17:01:40  Show Profile Send sammy a Private Message
>I can't see why the Revenue would need to go sniffing as to what we have though >
Because even if they do not have the certificate, they will go ahead with the hearing if they find out you have nothing in defence, if you have they will ask for an adjournment.

>What reporting restrictions are in place?
No reporter is allowed into the hearing. The facts are not made public.

Not sure on your other points, you will need to speak with a legal advisor.

Edited by - sammy on 19/05/2007 17:07:16
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Alan the Geordie
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3032 Posts

Posted - 19/05/2007 :  20:45:52  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
<<By the way - we got help from the CAB - as far as I know they have never mentioned this possibility of losing without our defence being heard.>>

Our local CAB were unaware of this possibility too - but they know about it now!

I suggest you let your CAB know too.

Write to your MP telling him that they are taking you to court before the proper procedure has been exhausted - which is against their own rules, and write the same to Primarolo, Gordon Brown,Richard Summersgill and Tony BLiar even!(send them all by Recorded Delivery)

If possible, go to see your MP face-to face and show him all your evidence and case history.

Let the press know about it too - HMRC do not like negative publicity - they have more than enough already!

The thing that worked for me is that I COMPLAINED constantly I never appealed and - here's the funny part - I never used the "correct" procedures either!

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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 20/05/2007 :  10:19:40  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Underdog (great name, by the way) - welcome to Flagship Tax Credits (to nick Alan's phrase!)

If you follow Sammy and Alan's advice, you will maximise your chances of stopping court action and reverting back to the proper appeals process.

Having a pro-active MP is crucial. If anyone can stop court action, they can, but some (almost always New Labour, surprise, surprise) need to be kick-started into wanting to do anything helpful about it. They're so indoctrinated with the 'tax credits are wonderful' mantra that they can take a lot of persuading that the system has messed you up badly (and in many cases made people ill).

It's really important to get your MP on board, and as Alan says, face-to-face is best. Far more emotive and you can bring all your papers and look like you mean business.

Alan's quite right about HMRC hating negative publicity. It's been proven that cases where the MP has written letter after letter fare better. HMRC guidance also makes mention of acting with great caution where there's media interest. Similarly if legal action is threatened.

The Tax Credit Casualties are in discussions with various human rights lawyers, and once we make headway with this, HMRC will need to tread even more cautiously. Everyone knows they are in breach of our Human Rights already, it's common knowledge, but until the courts are involved, they are just carrying on regardless.

So much for British justice.
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n/a
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35 Posts

Posted - 20/05/2007 :  10:25:22  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Alan the Geordie


Our local CAB were unaware of this possibility too - but they know about it now!

I suggest you let your CAB know too.


We certainly will be speaking to them this week.

quote:
Originally posted by Alan the Geordie



Write to your MP telling him that they are taking you to court before the proper procedure has been exhausted - which is against their own rules, and write the same to Primarolo, Gordon Brown,Richard Summersgill and Tony BLiar even!(send them all by Recorded Delivery)

If possible, go to see your MP face-to face and show him all your evidence and case history.

Let the press know about it too - HMRC do not like negative publicity - they have more than enough already!

The thing that worked for me is that I COMPLAINED constantly I never appealed and - here's the funny part - I never used the "correct" procedures either!



I have already drafted the MP letter. I see no reason not to write to the others you list although I will probably write a slightly different letter to them.

My big worry is will the MP get stuck in to this quick enough and will the Revenue fob him off so that the court date hits before anything gets stopped - but we can only try.

The more I think about this, the more it does my head in. The notion of an infallible HMRC in the eyes of the court (which is effectively what we have here) is one of the biggest nonsenses imaginable, when you consider the mountains of evidence that they are more than capable of making errors.

As far as publicity goes, I hear you, I have read the HMRC's internal directive DMBM615040 - Recovery documentation and checks: Recovery Proceedings (RP) regarding avoiding negative publicity - and they certainly deserve it! However I am reluctant for personal reasons to go overly public as I suspect many are which of course plays into HMRC's hands. I don't want to be in the public gaze over this but I am considering the options. If I do go to court and lose a claim for money I never received without any fair hearing - that may push me over the edge and we intend to let HMRC know that we will be taking things further if they do not back down.

BTW - does anyone know what precise legal basis, directive or precedent is used by the Judge to rule any defence irrelevant? Has the judiciary been instructed at some point to interpret the law in this way by the Government or is the law itself so unambiguous that he *really* has no choice? And has this always been this way since TMA 70 was produced?

Also can anyone direct me to somewhere that has a copy of TMA 70 section 29 if that is the relevant part? I'd like to read it but I am struggling to find it online.

Underdog
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Robert
Admin



United Kingdom
829 Posts

Posted - 20/05/2007 :  11:39:23  Show Profile Send Robert a Private Message
Underdog... dont know if this is what you want You must be logged in to see this link. if not just use the search facility on the HMRC web site..

The truth is out there.. GO get it..


Edited by - Robert on 20/05/2007 11:40:07
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n/a
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35 Posts

Posted - 20/05/2007 :  22:00:39  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Robert

Underdog... dont know if this is what you want You must be logged in to see this link. if not just use the search facility on the HMRC web site..


Thanks, that link is relevant but I would like to see the wording of the original act itself as part of trying to understand why on earth there can be no defence against a Certificate of Debt in Court.
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Alan the Geordie
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3032 Posts

Posted - 20/05/2007 :  22:38:38  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
It's something that I would like to know too and have written to my MP about. (You may have gathered that I write to him quite a lot!!)

I used to think the same as you underdog that the Court would hear evidence from both parties before reaching a decision, but it seems that The Revenue is a different kettle of horses.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 21/05/2007 :  08:24:30  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Isn't it down to (pinched from Sarah on another thread):

'A taxpayer has no right to claim damages for public law breach by HMRC, nor is any private law claim available.
HMRC owes no direct duty of care to taxpayers, nor is it vicariously liable for negligence of HMRC officers.
HMRC is immune from damages claims arising from its negligence
and/or delay caused by its officers.'

So HMRC can do anything they want with complete impunity and their word is gospel. Interesting, given the callibre of some of their employees (see 'Disgruntled Lemmings HMRC staff forum for a right bunch of cussing and claimant-abusing deviants) and how criminal prosecutions have already been taken against eleven or twelve of them, by all accounts. Oh, and whatever snide digs that 'anonymous' guy Luke was apparently making against Sammy on another thread.

So much for the world-celebrated British justice system!
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 21/05/2007 :  12:15:33  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
"British" and "Justice" are two words that do not sit well together these days.
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