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3 Posts

Posted - 16/06/2008 :  15:05:59  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Hi There

I am hoping that someone can advise me as I have recived today a letter from HM Revenue and Customs saying that they are going to investigate my Tax Credit claim for the year ending April 07.

They have requested a lot of personal information including Utility bills, bank statments, council tax statments, rent details, contract of employment, wages slips, P60 and childcare receipts. I have no childcare receipts - my childminder is paid cash every friday and I do not get a receipt.

I understand why these checks have to be made but I am very reluctant to pass on some of this information - especially in the light of so much information that has been mislaid in the news recently!

Do I HAVE to provide my bank statments and utility bills? How do they have any relevance to my claim. I am happy to send employment information, wage slips, P60 etc but they have access to this information anyway...they tax me! If I give them my rent details will they contact my landlord? If it was housing benefit I could understand this but not for a tax credit?

Also the information says I can ask them to stop the investigation at any time. Should I do this? Would they listen? Has anyone tried this?

Any information or advice is greatly appreciated.



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Sarah
Rank; Captain Gordon



247 Posts

Posted - 16/06/2008 :  23:45:01  Show Profile Send Sarah a Private Message
Hi Timewitch,

sounds like this is quite a scary time for you. The legislation for these investigations (also known as enquiries) was originally put in place to stop businesses evading tax and are now being used on tax credit cases, but of course it's much scarier for a member of the public than it is for a business who would refer everything to an accountant.

I've only heard, so far, of one other tax credit claimant being subjected to an enquiry and that was earlier this year. The information I was able to locate at the point was as follows:

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.

HMRC 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

The final decision of whether you comply or not immediately is up to you. The recommendations above are only recommendations and it really depends on how strongly you feel about this. Sorry I don't have more information, the use of enquiries with tax credit claimants is very new so we are all learning on these. Please let us know how you get on with this and what happens, I think we will be seeing more enquiries on TC claimants so any information you can share is really helpful.

Good luck.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 17/06/2008 :  05:36:06  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Just a quickie (off to UNISON's Conference...) - see here:

The worrying letter from HMRC
(29-05-2008)


What if one day you receive a brown envelope in the post and inside is a letter from HM Revenue & Customs telling you that they are making some enquiries into your tax return or tax credit claim?

How will you feel? Worried, confused, irritated or perhaps, even angry? But what should you do?




What do the Revenue mean by their letter? Do they think that you have actually done something wrong? If they don’t, why are they asking questions?

If this is happening to you and you want to know how to react, then we have updated and expanded our advice section entitled How to survive an enquiry by the Revenue.

If you are someone who has deliberately set out to defraud the Revenue then these pages are not for you: you will need a good lawyer. But for others we hope that it takes some of the mystery and worry out of the enquiry process.

You must be logged in to see this link.

Good luck! Ali.

Trinity: The answer is out there… and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.
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n/a
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7 Posts

Posted - 04/07/2008 :  20:10:19  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
Do they inform you that they are Investigating before they start? Or can they investigate then tell you?
Just wondering because of this statement above.
"• 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"
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Sarah
Rank; Captain Gordon



247 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2008 :  13:29:45  Show Profile Send Sarah a Private Message
My personal view is that much of the investigation has already happened before they contact you. HMRC have access to a huge amount of information on individuals and my understanding is that the main thrust of asking you to provide information for an enquiry is to see whether or not you are being honest.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 11/07/2008 :  21:23:33  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Sarah

My personal view is that much of the investigation has already happened before they contact you. HMRC have access to a huge amount of information on individuals and my understanding is that the main thrust of asking you to provide information for an enquiry is to see whether or not you are being honest.



Aye, they are a bunch of dodgy bastards aren't they?

"Dave Anderson (Labour) MP for Blaydon rocks!!"
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