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Ali M-W
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3558 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2009 :  07:34:47  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Recently the TCC met with representatives from the CAB and LITRG. We have promised not to divulge what was discussed, but suffice it to say that we continue to liaise.

The CAB has recently argued for a Tax Credit Amnesty:

Tax credits: Time for a clean slate(19/5/09)

In this time of recession, banks have been asked to show forbearance in debt collection; in this proposal we show how the government can minimise the impact of debt on low-income families.


We estimate that up to 1.5 million families will benefit from this action which will help achieve child poverty targets, reduce debt, and restore confidence in the system, and improve work incentives.


£4.4 billion in recoverable overpayments arose from 2003/04 and 2004/05 of which £1.7 billion is still to be collected. The 2007/08 HM Revenue and Customs accounts allocated £1.8 billion as debt that they expected to have to write off in the future. An early write off of debts that are not expected to be recovered anyway would serve both to relieve hardship on families and save administrative costs of continuing to collect.


These debts originate from a period when Government acknowledge administration was poor.

Many overpayments would simply not arise under current rules, as entitlement rules have been changed.

Recovery of these debts continues to push people into financial hardship.

In cases where families’ circumstances look unlikely to improve, HMRC spend time and money negotiating and renegotiating affordable repayment plans, and repeatedly deferring recovery.

Many debts do not represent a loss to the exchequer – they arose when claimants received the right amount, but did not return their end of year forms, thus technically making that money recoverable.

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Do write to your MP, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg etc. about this. To help you make a start, I have written the following, which you can use, or for the sake of variety, adapt if you wish:



I represent Tax Credit Casualties (TCC), a voluntary user group defending families facing unfair demands for recovery of tax credit overpayments arising non-fraudulently (You must be logged in to see this link.).

Whilst recognizing the good intentions behind the tax credit system and how it can help families, we are deeply concerned about the hardship and distress caused by the recovery of tax credits year on year since the scheme began in 2003, with claimant poverty compounded by the recent recession.

We want all non-fraudulent overpayments immediately written off. It damages public confidence in our political system when MPs can justify excessive expenses and “home-flip” and mortgage irregularities as accidents whilst ordinary, hardworking citizens suffer grave injustices in the “guilty until proven innocent” culture the Treasury adopts towards us.

Without an Amnesty, requests to re-examine overpayment cases will continue to swamp Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for years to come. Enforced recovery is neither just nor economical.

We see a huge loss of public confidence in tax credits, which urgently needs to be restored. Latest reports suggest that a massive £4.24 billion in tax credits goes uncollected each year – more than enough to fund a full write-off. Costs saved in pursuing the innocent indebted can be redirected to system overhaul, and a reliable system will restore public confidence far better than expensive campaigns.

HMRC has seen huge data losses, radical structural reorganization, and a huge backlog of unopened post and complaints. Chasing the already-poor to recover non-fraudulent overpayments only detracts from urgent work in creating a safer, fairer system.

Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham has previously recommended a write-off all overpayments resulting from official errors. This has also been supported by the Child Poverty Action Group, Citizens Advice, Low Incomes tax Reform Group and cross-party MPs. UNISON has supported our Motion 100 urging a government amnesty.

The two-way link between poverty and mental health cannot be ignored, with poverty and mental distress bringing huge social and welfare costs.

Please support us. We need this Amnesty urgently now.



THANK YOU. Let People Power prevail.




Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2009 :  07:49:59  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
The CAB has renewed its calls for an Amnesty, at least for those really dreadful initial years when HMRC really didn't have a clue, and repeated, invisible salary zeroing was just one of its nasty little habits. Radio 4's "You and Yours" programme seems to have been amongst the first to pick this up:

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Thanks so much to our member Lorraine for featuring in the show. Although core group member Sarah was also ready to feature as a spokewoman for TCC (thanks must go to Sarah too for all her preparation), You and Yours had Katie Lane from CAB and more than enough material for the show.

The iPlayer link for hearing the "You and Yours" programme is here:

Radio 4 link You must be logged in to see this link.

As Paula advises, when you replay the programme, you may want tender ears out of the room when the HMRC spokeswoman comes on, as it is very hard to resist making a few choice comments of ones own when you start to hear this woman's spin on things.

I hope everyone is similarly inspired to make good use of the TCC's Press Release incorporated in our most recent newsletter and contact their own newspapers, radio stations and MPs urging that this Amnesty is granted!

I will copy it here for anyone not yet signed up to our free Newsletters - together with Graham's tip for how we can painlessly use the Press Release to spread the word:


Dear Tax Credit Casualty or supporter,

Citizens Advice are starting a national campaign for all Tax Credit overpayments over 4 years old to be written-off. Today, Tax Credit Casualties have issued the Media Release shown below.

What can you do to help? Just forward this media release to your local newspapers - these are the papers that we don't have on our list. The more publicity we can generate, the more chance we have of succeeding. This is YOUR campaign, and it's important that everyone join in if we are going to be successful.

Please also send a copy to your MP - we aren't allowed to 'spam' them, but you, as their constituents, can make them aware of things! Let's - every one of us - do what we can to get this vile system changed!

Thanks.

Tax Credit Casualties.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tax Credit Casualties Support Citizens Advice
'Tax Credit Debt Write-Off' Campaign


The latest Tax Credit statistics, quietly released by HMRC, show a shock increase of overpayment bills for poverty stricken families. The official figures for 2007/08 show that over £940 million will be clawed back from almost 1.34 million of the UK's poorest families, plunging them even deeper below the poverty line.

One in five Tax Credit claims are now overpaid each year, leaving struggling families in dispair about how they are going to survive when HMRC claw back the money. Once again, a measure that was supposed to bring millions of children out of poverty is having exactly the opposite effect, as the very poorest families struggle to repay their Government imposed debt.

Citizens Advice is calling for old tax credit debts, dating back more than four years, to be written-off. It is taking part in a national campaign to ask the Government to wipe the slate clean, reduce hardship for families on low incomes and restore confidence in the system.

The award-winning voluntary organization Tax Credit Casualties (TCC) have campaigned for an overpayment amnesty since 2005, and welcomes the call by Citizens Advice for all tax credit overpayment bills, served to honest claimants during 2003-05, to be written-off.

Despite the good intentions behind the Tax Credit system, TCC are deeply concerned about the hardship and distress caused by the recovery of Tax Credits year on year since the scheme began in 2003, with claimant poverty compounded by the recession. Non-fraudulent overpayments must be written off.

It damages public confidence in our leaders when MPs defend excessive expenses, “home-flips” and mortgage irregularities as 'accidents' whilst ordinary, hardworking citizens suffer grave injustices in the “guilty until proven innocent” culture the Treasury adopts towards overpayment victims. Without an Amnesty, costly overpayment disputes will continue to swamp HM Revenue and Customs indefinitely. Enforced recovery is neither just nor economical.

The public has lost confidence in tax credits, and trust must be restored. Recent reports suggest that a massive £4.24 billion available to Tax Credit claimants is not collected each year – more than enough to fund a full write-off. Costs saved in pursuing the innocently indebted can be redirected to system overhaul. A reliable system will restore public confidence far better than costly campaigns to promote take-up.

HMRC has seen huge data losses, radical structural reorganization, and a huge backlog of unopened post and complaints. Chasing the poorest families to recover non-fraudulent overpayments only detracts from urgent work in creating a safer, fairer system.

Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham recommended a write-off all overpayments resulting from official errors, something the Government has continually ignored. This call has been backed by the Child Poverty Action Group, Royal College of Nursing, Low Incomes Tax Reform Group and cross-party MPs. UNISON has supported Motion 100 urging a Government amnesty on the claw back of overpaid Tax Credits. The two-way link between poverty and mental health cannot be ignored, with poverty and mental distress bringing huge social and welfare costs.

Please support Citizens Advice and Tax Credit Casualties in this campaign for a write off of non-fradulent overpayments. The poorest families in the UK need this Amnesty.

Urgently.

Now.

********************* End of Media Release **************************







Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 28/09/2009 :  07:48:14  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
More on the subject - an earlier CAB article.

Tax credits: Time for a clean slate
Rachel Burr explains why Government needs to stop the hardship caused by tax credit overpayments:

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Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 28/09/2009 :  07:53:26  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
From You must be logged in to see this link.

Getting old tax credit overpayment debt written off
Old tax credit overpayment debt is still causing stress and hardship for many.

If you have outstanding tax credit overpayment debt from 2003/04 or 2004/05, you should consider challenging the recovery of your overpayment. Not only could challenging recovery help you personally, but it will support our campaign - if enough people challenge these old debts, we send a message to the government that they cannot get away with ignoring them and are better off writing them off.

If you want to challenge an old tax credit overpayment debt, see the Tax credit overpayments guide on the advicenow.org.uk website (pg. 11-13 deals with challenging an overpayment), or visit your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau for support.

For more information about the campaign, please email campaigns@citizensadvice.org.uk


Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2009 :  09:00:08  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Please copy this and send it to your MP today:

Tax Credit Casualties Support Citizens Advice
'Tax Credit Debt Write-Off' Campaign

The latest Tax Credit statistics, quietly released by HMRC, show a shock increase of overpayment bills for poverty stricken families. The official figures for 2007/08 show that over £940 million will be clawed back from almost 1.34 million of the UK's poorest families, plunging them even deeper below the poverty line.

One in five Tax Credit claims are now overpaid each year, leaving struggling families in dispair about how they are going to survive when HMRC claws back the money. Once again, a measure that was supposed to bring millions of children out of poverty is having exactly the opposite effect, as the very poorest families struggle to repay their Government imposed debt.

Citizens Advice is calling for old tax credit debts, dating back more than four years, to be written-off. It is taking part in a national campaign to ask the Government to wipe the slate clean, reduce hardship for families on low incomes and restore confidence in the system.

The award-winning voluntary organization Tax Credit Casualties (TCC) has campaigned for an overpayment amnesty since 2005, and welcomes the call by Citizens Advice for all tax credit overpayment bills, served to honest claimants during 2003-05, to be written-off.

Despite the good intentions behind the Tax Credit system, TCC is deeply concerned about the hardship and distress caused by the recovery of Tax Credits year on year since the scheme began in 2003, with claimant poverty compounded by the recession. Non-fraudulent overpayments must be written off.

It damages public confidence in our leaders when MPs defend excessive expenses, “home-flips” and mortgage irregularities as 'accidents' whilst ordinary, hardworking citizens suffer grave injustices in the “guilty until proven innocent” culture the Treasury adopts towards overpayment victims. Without an Amnesty, costly overpayment disputes will continue to swamp HM Revenue and Customs indefinitely. Enforced recovery is neither just nor economical.

The public has lost confidence in tax credits, and trust must be restored. Recent reports suggest that a massive £4.24 billion available to Tax Credit claimants is not collected each year – more than enough to fund a full write-off. Costs saved in pursuing the innocently indebted can be redirected to system overhaul. A reliable system will restore public confidence far better than costly campaigns to promote take-up.

HMRC has seen huge data losses, radical structural reorganization, and a huge backlog of unopened post and complaints. Chasing the poorest families to recover non-fraudulent overpayments only detracts from urgent work in creating a safer, fairer system.

Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham recommended a write-off all overpayments resulting from official errors, something the Government has continually ignored. This call has been backed by the Child Poverty Action Group, Royal College of Nursing, Low Incomes Tax Reform Group and cross-party MPs. UNISON has supported Motion 100 urging a Government amnesty on the claw back of overpaid Tax Credits. The two-way link between poverty and mental health cannot be ignored, with poverty and mental distress bringing huge social and welfare costs.

Please support Citizens Advice and Tax Credit Casualties in this campaign for a write off of non-fradulent overpayments. The poorest families in the UK need this Amnesty.

Urgently.

Now.
Tax Credit Casualties
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You might want to remind them that an election is coming up and that you will be giving thought to where your valuable vote will go...

The Lib Dems are already supporting the CAB campaign, so we just need the Conservatives on board now to get Nu Labour to do a U turn.

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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