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Rank; Hector Tax Inspector

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Posted - 10/12/2010 :  13:29:06  Show Profile Send Nicky.S a Private Message
From January to March 2005 I received no payments. TCO state they sent a notification to my then employer to start paying me in January. My employer did not receive this notification; the last thing they received from TCO was a notification to stop. This went on for 3 months, with TCO making 4 referrals to “head office” to get my payments sorted out. My employer advised they could not back pay, so got in touch with TCO to pay me the underpayment direct into my bank account. New claim form received, but this did not receive the underpayment, which was being dealt with by “head office”.

Finally in April I was paid, but apparently too much. I wrote to TCO advising them that I had no idea I had been overpaid due to the mix up and that I considered this their fault because they had not sent the notification to stop to my employer. They, of course, disagreed with this and advised me that they would still be asking me to pay back the overpayment.

In May I was paid through my bank account and through my employer. I telephoned TCO to check what was going on and I was advised that I had been overpaid but that my employer should have received a stop notification. This had not been received. I telephoned TCO again to ask them to send a stop notification, but was advised that no overpayment had been made, but that a stop notice had been sent to my employer. I advised them that they had not received this and was promised one would be sent asap.

In June I wrote a further letter, appealing this decision, they, yet again, told me they had considered all the circumstances and that they had made the right decision when stating they would be recovering any overpayments, no surprise there! I sought advised from Citizens Advice, they requested copies of all telephone calls and, after listening to the calls, advised me TCO were definitely at fault and that I should write to advise them that as the overpayment was due to “official errors” the overpayment was not recoverable.

The following month I was overpaid again, I called the TCO, who again advised that, that I had not been overpaid according to their system I had been underpaid, but to again check with my employer re the stop notice, I again advised them this had not been received. The last stop notice my employer received was on 13.01.2005, and, following this, they received a telephone call to start payment me, on 30.03.2005, another letter was received to set up payments on 24.04.2005 and on 24.08.2005 another letter was sent to amend payments.

Yet again, the following month I was overpaid, this despite sending several letters and making telephone calls advising them they promised to send me a written response as the person I spoke to could find no reason for the overpayment! Of course, the written response was not received.

The initial underpayments were caused by TCO not sending a start to pay notice to my employer and they overpayments were caused by them not sending a notification to stop to my employer, I consider this to be their mistake and Citizens Advice were in agreement with me.

I made an official complaint, which was returned with the same old response, I was in the wrong and they would be recovering the overpayment. Then nothing, I stopped claiming credits and heard nothing until September this year in the form of Notice to Pay. I immediately got in touch with my local MP, sent him copies of all the telephone calls made and they have been liasing with TCO. Initially TCO advised him the had no record of any telephone calls or correspondence between myself and TCO, I copied the telephone calls and sent them to him. He, in turn, has sent copies of all the telephone calls to TCO and has requested a full investigation. Now I’m in limbo and deeply suspect they will reply with the same response they gave me some time ago.

Apologies for being so long winded, but any help or advice on where to go next would be greatly appreciated.

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Posted - 10/12/2010 :  20:25:16  Show Profile Send samthe a Private Message
If I've understood you correctly, you knew at the time that you were being overpaid, you kept on trying to get TCO to sort this out & they failed to do so. I suspect they will be arguing that because you knew these were overpayments you should have put the money on one side ready to repay to them (what - for 5 years, I hear you say!).

Have you looked at COP26 - the booklet on overpayment recovery? If not, get it from HMRC website. It says that if you met your responsibilities & they failed to meet theirs, they will not recover the overpayment. From what you have written, I get the view that you did meet your responsibilities - you chased them repeatedly. If so, they should now write this off.

If they don't, you have to go completely through their complaints procedure & then to the Independent Adjudicator & then - if necessary - to the Parliamentary Ombudsman through your MP.
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