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56 Posts

Posted - 16/04/2008 :  14:32:24  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
....and at the beginning of what I see could be a long journey. Thank heavens this forum is here.....

So far I've been one of the lucky people for whom Tax Credits has not been a problem. Until 2 weeks ago when I called them to tell them that my partners oldest daughter aged 14 had moved in with us and was living with us permanently.

A week later I received two Final Tax Credits Decision notices - one for 2005/6 and another for 2006/7. The notices stated that in total my partner and I had been overpaid by 8770 during those two years as, "You were not responsible for any qualifying children or young people."

Except that our daughter born in 2004 was playing in the same room when I opened the notices.

I immediately called the helpline and the operator informed me that it was obvioulsy a "mistake made by head office" and that someone would call me back in a couple of days. I hadn't yet found this forum and being the trusting sort waited for the call. You will not be surprised to learn that a call never came. So I called again last week to be told that a note had been put on the system for someone to call me, and that all I could do was wait. So then I went to the local HMRC office and went to the Tax Cerdits enquiries office. Useless. I was offered the use of their "hotline" to the helpline, which I used and where I was told very firmly that I was in a large queue of people who wanted to talk to someone and that I shouldn't expect a call for some weeks.... well, at least I may have had an honest answer from someone....

I have read as much of the information on this forum and on the website as i can but, sorry, I still need to ask a question or two of you all rather than diving in.

At this stage, where I have been informed in writing that I have been overpaid due to not having any children and so they will write to me soon and advise how I can pay them back, should I be writing a letter? To whom? Any advice that can be offered will be gratefully recieved (and I have read the forum answers for other cases so please don't anyone go to th trouble of repeating some of the info about using the media and my MP - I don't want you to go over old ground again! )

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56 Posts

Posted - 16/04/2008 :  16:16:25  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
I've been avidly reading the information on this forum and just wanted to add that I wish I had read the "not so much overpayment, as total lack of payment" article (in fact wish I had found this forum) last week. What I was too embarrassed to say earlier was that when I went to the local HMRC office and went to the TC Enquiry office I was reduced to tears with frustration and worry whilst talking to an unhelpful "helpline" operator. I left without speaking to one of the human beings in the office as I didn't want to fully break down in front of someone. As I'm currently 4 months pregnant and somewhat emotional anyway I should have fully exploited my fears and cried for hours in frnt of them rather than going home to do it (and crying all the way on the walk home too!)
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missfroy2
Mod



298 Posts

Posted - 16/04/2008 :  16:26:05  Show Profile Send missfroy2 a Private Message
Hi

It sounds as if when you reported that your partner's daughter moved in they retrospectively removed your younger daughter hence the revised awards for 2005/2006 and 2006/2007.

The obvious answer would be to call the helpline, explain that they have incorrectly removed your daughter and have them change this. However the helpline never make things that simple.

Without knowing the ins and outs of your awards it is difficult to guess, but there is legislation that specifies when HMRC can change awards that have already been finalised.

Regardless, this is an entitlement issue. A lot of people get confused on whether they should dispute an overpayment or appeal it. These are two very different things. In this case HMRC are saying that you are not entitled to tax credits for the period because you were responsible for no children (thus creating an overpayment because they paid you for children that they now think you don't have). You are saying that you did in fact have a child during that time, therefore you are saying that HMRC have made a decision on your entitlement incorrectly.

You have a right of appeal against the two notices that you have received. You should send an appeal letter within 30 days (don't worry if you are outside of the time limit) stating that you disagree with both decisions (2005/06 and 2006/07) because you believe that they have calculated your entitlement incorrectly. Mark this letter for the attention of the appeals team, tax credit office, Preston, PR1 0SB.

Send it recorded or special delivery - it is important you keep the orange or blue receipt you get with this should you need it.

If HMRC refuse your appeal then you can take it to an independent appeal tribunal. Also note that HMRC should suspend any recovery of the overpayment whilst the appeal is considered.

Obviously once entitlement is revised (i.e. your daughter added back on) then the overpayment will disappear.

If you don't feel confident writing the letter then go to your local CAB for help, or contact a welfare rights oranisation, other groups such as taxaid (You must be logged in to see this link.) or litrg (You must be logged in to see this link.) may be able to help. It may also be worth having one of them check to make sure that the overpayment is only because of this error.

Hope that helps & good luck

MF
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n/a
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56 Posts

Posted - 16/04/2008 :  16:52:18  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Thank you MissFroy, I'll get on to the letters straight away.
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Sarah
Rank; Captain Gordon



247 Posts

Posted - 16/04/2008 :  21:59:38  Show Profile Send Sarah a Private Message
Hi Willow,

I'm glad you have found the help there is on this forum. If you've have had a good cry about tax credits you should be about due for a goodly dose of temper at how they are creating worry and work for you through their error. As well as following Missfroy's advise do also write a letter of complaint to HMRC about how your case has been handled and copy your MP in to it. I know you've seen the posts about MPs but for any issue with HMRC we need to raise awareness with MPs and the very best way to do this is by people like yourself letting them know about cases. Plus if HMRC don't sort things out promptly for you your MP is already informed and should be ready to help you.

Good luck and do come back if you need help and support and to let us know how you get on.
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n/a
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56 Posts

Posted - 17/04/2008 :  09:34:25  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Thank you Sarah. After reading this forum I realise how important it is to be in communication with my MP so I shall certainly take your advice and write a separate letter of complaint to the HMRC and send a copy of it (along with a copy of the appeal I am sending to the TCO) so that he is fully informed. I'll also do what I can to promote the Tax Credits Overpayment website and this forum to as many people as I can as there's a massive wealth of support and information on here.
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missfroy2
Mod



298 Posts

Posted - 17/04/2008 :  10:18:00  Show Profile Send missfroy2 a Private Message
Good luck Willow!

A complaint is also a good idea, sorry I didn't see your 2nd post when I wrote my reply.

I forgot to add, if you do speak to anyone keep a note of the name, date and time of the call.

MF
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n/a
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56 Posts

Posted - 29/04/2008 :  09:13:13  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
kay, quick update although nothing really to report - nothing yet from our SARN request.... Letter from the TCO Customer Support Unit to say that they'll be in touch by 2nd June... reply from my MP to say he'll assist us if required.... and in the meantime I'm still slowly slipping into debt and still "owe" over 12,000.....
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missfroy2
Mod



298 Posts

Posted - 29/04/2008 :  09:25:13  Show Profile Send missfroy2 a Private Message
Willow

Thanks for updating us on your progress. The letter you got from the Customer Support Group should have a contact number on it.

Did you send 2 letters (and appeal and complaint) or just one? If you only sent one then you should contact the number on the letter and ask whether your letter has been lodged as an appeal and dealt with by the appeals team.

To protect your legal right it is important this is treated as an appeal (not as a dispute or just a complaint).

If they say anything tell them that you are challenging their decision to remove entitlement to CTC which is appealable decision.

Once the appeal is received, recovery of the overpayment should stop. Policy is that recovery will not stop if it is a complaint. That is the second reason why it is important to make sure they are dealing with it correctly.


MF
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n/a
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56 Posts

Posted - 29/04/2008 :  16:09:44  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
I sent two letters, one was an appeal, the other a letter of complaint. The letter I have received is from the Customer Support Team and relates to the complaint (and this letter was just addressed to the TCO - I didn't know there was a Customer Support Team). I have heard nothing from the Appeals Team to whom I addressed the appeal. All post was sent on the same day, 18th April, Special Delivery. I received a reply from my MP and the letter from the Customer Support Team relating to the complaint on saturday which was the 26th.

Would you suggest that I call (whom?) and check that they have received my appeal?
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missfroy2
Mod



298 Posts

Posted - 29/04/2008 :  17:09:15  Show Profile Send missfroy2 a Private Message
You can call the number on the letter (presuming there is one) and ask them if they could check that the appeal has been registered.

Failing that you could try asking the helpline to check your 'household notes' and see if the appeal has been logged by the appeal team.

Hopefully the complaint caseworker will see the mistake they have made and get someone to correct it. However the appeal route is a formal route and the appeal should be dealt with as such.

MF
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n/a
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56 Posts

Posted - 30/04/2008 :  09:47:36  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
I did call the number given and although there was a record of my SARN request on my household notes there was nothing about the appeal. This was sent, special delivery, on the same day as the complaint. The operator suggested that the appeals team were a little slower in getting through their mail and that I should check back in a couple of weeks. On the plus side, all of my other calls and letters have been logged as recieved...
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splashin
Rank; Really should become a politician



Belize
730 Posts

Posted - 30/04/2008 :  21:45:46  Show Profile Send splashin a Private Message
Willow

Please do not let this go, with the appeals team. It may be that you need to complete an appeals form, to start off this process. And you only have 30 days from the award notice issue date.
Below is some info on appealing against a decision and a link for downloading this form and also notes.

Making an appeal
If you still can't agree with us, you may decide to appeal.

When to make the appeal
You need to appeal no later than 30 days from the date on the decision letter. Sometimes we'll give you more time. But you'll need to have a good reason for making a late appeal.
Who can make the appeal?
You can fill in the form yourself or ask an independent adviser to do it for you. If you're an appointee and claim tax credits for someone else, you can make the appeal for them.
How to make the appeal
Your appeal needs to be in writing. You can ask the Tax Credit Helpline for an appeal form, or you can download one.
Write to the address on the decision notice and tell us why you think the decision is wrong. Make sure you include your name, National Insurance number and signature.

You must be logged in to see this link.

You must be logged in to see this link.

Hope this helps.



Splashin
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missfroy2
Mod



298 Posts

Posted - 30/04/2008 :  22:54:16  Show Profile Send missfroy2 a Private Message
Splashin gives good advice, but I think Willow has already sent an appeal letter to the appeals team.

The appeal need only be in writing, and whilst HMRC do have a form, there is no problem in writing it in a letter rather than using the WTC/AP.

I agree that she needs to monitor the appeal. As for the 30 day time limit, there is provision for late appeals to be accepted up to 12 months late. I have not heard of a case refused due to the time limit.

The appeals team turnaround time is long at present, but she should be able to find out if it is at least with the appeals team and then it is a case of waiting for their decision before taking the next step.

Hopefully sense will prevail in this case, although you can never be too sure!

MF
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n/a
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56 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2008 :  07:58:25  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Many thanks for the comments above. I have had a few days away with the little one and on my return on Saturday was less than happy to open the demands for payment for what totals over 13,000 (paid to us over the last 3 years years). I called the Helpline and they were able to confirm that the written appeal I sent on 18th April had been received. "Your appeal will be dealt with in due course..."

So here's where I'm at: HMRC have identified "overpayments" as our daughter has been "knocked off the system" so far as I can see. No-one has yet been able to confirm/deny that the "overpayments" have been made for any other reason, and the only clue I have for this is that on the Final Decision notices (sent April 2008) for 2005/6, 2006/7, 2007/8 it states that we have no qualifying children. Which we do have.....

I have sent a written appeal that I have had confirmed has been received (confirmed as being on my Household Notes), a written complaint that has been received (got a letter about this where someone is supposed to get back to me by June 2nd), and written to my MP to alert him of the situation which he has received.

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n/a
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56 Posts

Posted - 27/05/2008 :  12:44:59  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Hi all - I'm currently still waiting to hear from someone at the TCO with regard to my complaint letter but someone is supposed to contact me by June 2nd (not holding my breath though....)

Although a call to the *Helpline* on 10th May assured me that my letter of appeal had been received I've still not heard from anyone. I dare say the appeals team are quite a busy bunch one way or another so I don't expect to hear from them soon but what's worrying me at the moment is that a date is looming for us to pay back arund 13,000.

The demands for payment were received sometime between 5th and 9th May (I wasn't here so I don't know when they arrived)and are still sitting here on my desk...payment is due on 9th June according to these lovely pieces of paper but I have no idea what to do next.

So now I'm thinking ahead to what steps I take if I've not heard from anyone by next Monday? At what point should I move into sending a Dispute? Do I just sit and wait for the Appeals Team to contact me? Having read some of the other stories and posts on the forum I'm worried sick about the bailiffs knocking the door - how the hell do I deal with that if it happens?

Plus, I dug around in my paperwork and found the original Final Tax Credits Decision notices for 2005/06 (sent 15th January 2007) and 2006/07 (sent 26th September 2007). These are two of the years that they are saying we were overpaid as we had "no qualifying children" although on these original notices our daughter is clearly there. For 2007/08 we have not had a Final notice, just award notices and amended award notices when I informed them of an extra 3 hours work I was doing each week. Again, our daughter is clearly shown on these notices. 2007/08 is another of the years that we were allegedly overpaid as we had "no qualifying children"..... I'm sure that I read in another post somewhere that this can't happen....that if a Final Decision notice had been received then it couldn't be changed by HMRC?

My pregnancy addled brain is having some difficulty making any sense of my thoughts at the moment so please accept my apologies if this post is a bit rambling or disjointed.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 27/05/2008 :  13:17:34  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
Hi Willow.

I'm sorry but not surprised that you're all up-n-the-air with HMRC.

To take your concerns one at a time;

1. "someone is supposed to contact me by June 2nd" They won't. I'd be very surprised if they did!

When they don't contact you when they say they will, make that the subject of another COMPLAINT and let your MP know about it! (Keep copies of everything.)

2. "payment is due on 9th June according to these lovely pieces of paper but I have no idea what to do next." Contact your MP - again - and ask him/her to get this put on hold while you're appealing/disputing/waiting for HMRC to send you your SAR stuff. Get the Media interested too.

3. "I'm worried sick about the bailiffs knocking the door - how the hell do I deal with that if it happens?" Do NOT let them in - in fact do not even open the door to them, and if they make a nuisance of themselves call the police. You're pregnant and therefore are a "vulnerable person" and these people are distressing you - lay it on nice & thick. (personally, I'd pour boiling water stiffened with sugar over the "B's" from an upstairs window, but that's just a Geordie thing! )

4. "Plus, I dug around in my paperwork and found the original Final Tax Credits Decision notices for 2005/06 (sent 15th January 2007) and 2006/07 (sent 26th September 2007). These are two of the years that they are saying we were overpaid as we had "no qualifying children" although on these original notices our daughter is clearly there. For 2007/08 we have not had a Final notice, just award notices and amended award notices when I informed them of an extra 3 hours work I was doing each week. Again, our daughter is clearly shown on these notices. 2007/08 is another of the years that we were allegedly overpaid as we had "no qualifying children"..... I'm sure that I read in another post somewhere that this can't happen....that if a Final Decision notice had been received then it couldn't be changed by HMRC?" See the Citizens Advice Bureau and tell your MP about this one.

5. "My pregnancy addled brain is having some difficulty making any sense of my thoughts at the moment ....." No comment!!


Apathy rules OK - so why do I bother?

Edited by - Alan the Geordie on 27/05/2008 13:25:29
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n/a
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56 Posts

Posted - 27/05/2008 :  13:29:36  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Many thanks Alan, that's helped the brain to focus on what to do next.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 27/05/2008 :  13:49:46  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Willow

Many thanks Alan, that's helped the brain to focus on what to do next.



You're welcome Bonny Lass

And if you're needing advice on contraception my (ex) wife found Aspirin to be very effective.

Every night she would place just one Aspirin tablet between her knees and keep it there until morning!

"Aye, I know it's an old joke, and so am I!"

Edited by - Alan the Geordie on 27/05/2008 13:52:21
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n/a
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56 Posts

Posted - 27/05/2008 :  14:16:23  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
I could have done with that bit of advice over Christmas mate!
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n/a
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56 Posts

Posted - 28/05/2008 :  15:16:17  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Right then, MP emailed and written to regarding the demand for payment, asking him to contact TCO and get them to put this on hold whilst my case is looked at, as per the appeal they have received.

And this morning my SAR info came, in a jiffy bag with a bit of sellotape across the seal. This would appear to be quite secure and high-tech in comparison with how others' information has arrived

I had read a post elsewhere on the forum giving the advice to number each page before taking a good look at them. This I did whilst waiting for the car to be MOT'd and it took nearly a whole hour. And in that hour I was quite clearly able to see that my daughter exists on their system until the day I called to tell them that our step-daughter had moved in and suddenly the little one has only been our rsponsibility from that date too. I'll sit down soon and look at everything in more detail and let you know if anything changes.
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