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 overpaided and living overseas!
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PJD
Admin


United Kingdom
281 Posts

Posted - 16/09/2008 :  20:46:00  Show Profile Send PJD a Private Message
Sorry, it has only just occurred to me to post my response here to a question I get asked surprisingly often;
“I have been overpaid tax credit and now live overseas, what do I do?”

To steal wholesale from the email I have just sent to Agentina; I have had contact from several ex pats all around the world, Inc Russia, Thailand, Canada and Australia. As such I decided to try and pin down the official answer to the situation a little while ago.
So I approached HMRC policy team a while ago about enforcement proceedings against people who are now overseas. and this is the reply I got...

Paula, Thank you for your email. Having considered the issues i am able to reply as follows. Clearly if we do not know that someone has gone abroad, we will act on the latest information we have. However, where we know that someone has gone abroad, we issue an application for payment but if no response is received we will take no further action. T****

So, we have taken the line that the best thing to do when the victim is now overseas and does not maintain regular visit to the UK, is for them to cease all contact.

As T says above they will take no further action if they don’t receive a response, which means they drop the whole issue, rather than file a case that might bite someone on the bum if they were to return.

Most people have already responded to HMRC by the time they ask me about this, but subsequently breaking off contact has worked so far in every case apart from one, but that was a unique and advanced case.

hope that helps
Cheers
PJ

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Posted - 05/11/2008 :  13:39:00  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
This is of major interest to me as I am abroad and HMRC have my address (outside UK).

I have been replying to their letters etc to try and stop a new overpayment being claimed against me.

I have an old overpayment which is still being investigated (whatever that means cause its been going on since 2006).

Should I really drop all contact, I do still have an address in the UK too, don't want to make trouble for the current occupier and I could be working in the UK again early 2010.

Any ideas how I stand?

cheers

Angry hen
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2008 :  07:14:43  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Hi Angryhen! That's a hard call. Contact will invariably bring hassle, but then again, you may just win your case, and whilst the recent poll (see wwwtaxCC.org on the home page) shows that most disputes drag on for 3 years or more, if you know in your heart of hearts that you did nothing wrong, I have yet to see a fighter go down. All win in the end. Even those with court judgments! The one deciding factor to losing or winning is simply determination. Are you up for the long haul or will you shriek 'enough is enough' and offer to pay them £200 a month (say) for the rest of your natural? That tends to be the most dramatic way people ultimately lose.

It depends whether you want an easy life, letting sleeping dogs lie, and hoping they won't trouble you, or if you are psyched up for the bureaucratic fight of your life.

There are different ways of looking at it. Some on this forum think, 'right, they have caused me pain, anguish and sleepless nights, and I am damn well going to give them a taste of their own medicine, and something to do!' So out go the complaints, fired off one after another. Everything they have hurt you with, every target they miss (eg. failing to send data to you within 40 working days), there goes another complaint. Alan took that approach, and won.

Then there's the folk with very limited letter-writing time, who think, 'I will only respond when they take some action or other, and then I will respond immediately and ignore nothing potentially dangerous'. I started as a complainer, then evolved into sleeper, lying low till they did something. Both approaches have their merits, because the trouble with the complaining one is that you can end up doing all the running and being worn to a frazzle, unless you target your complaints to key people who can't ignore them, and copy them into people with some degree of power to chivvy them along. HMRC responses are dead slow (unless of the 'we are coming to get you' kind, when they act like tornadoes), so on the face of it better suited to the longer game players. But of course, you need a certain number of complainers to edge up 'quality control' [sic] at HMRC, keep them busy and off everyone's backs, snarl up the system (let's be honest, here - this is a consumer war!) and tip the cost/benefits of recovery well away from recovery as an effective strategy for HMRC and the Brown Henchmob. Sleepers ensure HMRC gets no 'quick fix' and the slow pace of correspondence usually allows time for further research into why you were right and they were wrong, ready for your next move. We ideally need both groups of claimants, and that's exactly what we end up with, because of our different circumstances and personalities.

You tend only to get fast or faster answers if you keep hammering away relentlessly at them, drafting in reinforcements like the interested Press, your MP, a trade union welfare officer, the CAB, Low Incomes Tax Reform Group welfare rights worker, etc. But if everyone who has been wronged simply refused to be bullied into paying back, HMRC simply couldn't win. Are they going to take several hundred thousand people to court? Send tens of thousands of tax officials to our doors? I think not!

Not many people know this, but I was told this by a key HMRC policy offier when I asked. People can raise disputes even after they have paid money back, if deprived of this option at an earlier stage! If you are currently repaying because you believed the guff that 'you cannot appeal against this decision' (heads should really, really ROLL over that one, and come the revolution, maybe they will!), then you can just stop payments and tell them you have discovered your rights at last, feel aggrieved to have been press-ganged into repaying when this was never your fault, and want your case reopened and your data sent to you so you can prepare your case!

No-one who was stitched up innocently by this HMRC-Brown confidence trick known as Tax Credits actually has to repay, and the sooner HMRC and Brown feel the weight of public opinion on this matter, the sooner we will all see victory!

Not sure that answers your question, Angryhen, but maybe the fight will seem less daunting (if you do decide to wage battle against these incompetents) if you at least know from the outset you could be facing a long haul.

Whether you rest quietly on your perch or live up to your Angryhen moniker, all I ask is that you don't become a headless chicken and agree to pay up!!!! You are not going to lay HMRC any golden eggs right now, or turn up roasted on Brown's platter with stuffing balls, if we here have any say in it!


Morpheus: They are the gatekeepers, they are guarding all the doors and holding all the keys.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2008 :  07:16:00  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
That should be You must be logged in to see this link. by the way. Oops!

Morpheus: They are the gatekeepers, they are guarding all the doors and holding all the keys.
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PJD
Admin



United Kingdom
281 Posts

Posted - 04/03/2009 :  22:37:00  Show Profile Send PJD a Private Message
just a quick update on this issue. if you still have property In the UK, you do need to get legal advice about whether HMRC can attach an order to it.

cheers
PJ
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PJD
Admin



United Kingdom
281 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2009 :  12:11:00  Show Profile Send PJD a Private Message
hiya, another update re this .....

It may well be worth asking HMRC straight out what action they can take against you now, or if your new employer offers advice with a specialist concerning UK / yournewcountry tax law, see them as they will definitely be able to answer as to what action HMRC can take on you in your position.

Because I am not a tax law expert (simply an enthusiastic amateur re Tax Credit overpayment) I cannot guarantee refusing to respond will result in them dropping the overpayment. as well as attaching recovery to any capital you have in the UK, they may well instead lay it aside and attempt to come after you for it later, it you return to the UK to live.

because HMRC's previous answer to me on this issue was overly simplistic, i will go back to ‘T’ and ask him to clarify the current policy and how long they can ‘lay aside’ recovery etc.

I'll post here what answer i get.

cheers
PJ
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PJD
Admin



United Kingdom
281 Posts

Posted - 29/06/2009 :  01:18:45  Show Profile Send PJD a Private Message
right. have now had a further reply to our questions re what happens to an O/P if you move abroad.

i will paste the response in its entirety below. my questions are in blue, HMRC's answers are in red.......

can you confirm what ‘take no action’ means? Does it mean...

• The overpayment is written off
• Or that you have ‘laid aside’ recovery
- This is the correct answer – we set aside the amount outstanding.

If it is the latter, in what circumstances can and will you again attempt recovery? Such as if the claimant returns to live in the UK? And is there a time limit on how long you can attempt recovery? When does this time limit extend from and to? We will attempt to recover any amount outstanding if / when the customer returns to the UK but this is subject to certain time limits. I attach a link to our guidance. You must be logged in to see this link.


If the claimant still has capital/ property/ possessions in the UK can you attempt to recover the ‘overpayment’ from that? Currently, we can recover against property but we will not recover against possessions.

Can you, and would you, attempt legal action on someone who no longer resides in the UK? We can ask other EU countries to pursue for debts but, where the only debt is tax credits, we do not do that. If, however, there are multiple head of duty debts, any tax credits debts would be included if we considered it appropriate to recover the other debts.

Does this extend to all countries outside of the UK? Please see the previous reply
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