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 Time to stop blaming us for 'fraud & error'?
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Ali M-W
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3558 Posts

Posted - 18/12/2007 :  07:19:59  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Isn't it time now that HMRC and Clown Brown (aka Mr Bean or the Clunking Fist) stopped blaiming claimants for the sloppy work of HMRC?

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All too easy to blame claimants for supposedly not advising changes in income and making errors; all too easy to attribute fraud to those outside, rather than inside, HMRC...

The truth will, I am sure, emerge before long.

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Neo: I won't

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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2008 :  08:02:40  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
The biggest tax credit fraud ever perpetrated was the creation of system-caused and worker-error overpayments and the crafty way that blame was passed on to claimants.

I knew, if we were patient and persistent,this would begin to be recognised:

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Consider this a good start - but we need more!

Have YOU a story to tell about how HMRC tried to blame you but how you were able to prove it was their fault, and not yours?

Please tell us. And tell the papers too.

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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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2008 :  08:03:59  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Anyone fancy writing a 'letter of the month' about this 'blame the victim' scam to our beloved PM? Been a long time since we had one... (Letter of the month, I mean - although it could also apply to a 'beloved PM'...)

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
deleted



29 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2008 :  12:18:23  Show Profile Send n/a a Private Message
People are winning! and that gives me the strength to carry on the fight
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2008 :  07:19:17  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Absolutely, Smudge! I would recommend evereyone disputing recovery of their overpayment in the first instance, unless they have been deceitful and fraudulent, or are absolutely convinced they were negligent. In my experience, people want to do the right thing and be open and honest, and try very hard to give correct information and advise of any significant changes in good time, despite the government and HMRC propaganda that it is all somehow our fault for having whopping payrises that we kept quiet, or all shacking up with new partners we never told them about! Anyone who is not entirely convinced it was their fault needs to pin HMRC down for a proper explanation. If people did not do something because they were never told in advance that they needed to, or if they were given bad advice by an HMRC worker, that in itself is a grounds for complaint and dispute.

Do have a look here, because not every success story makes these pages:

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Also, many people don't realise that they can still dispute after they have agreed a repayment plan, if they were not properly advised at the time they signed up for the plan of their right to dispute. Many weren't...

To dispute - even after you have fully repaid! (as I was told by an HMRC worker is still possible) - HMRC needs to have made an error (or you need to suspect that they have), you need to have believed your award correct (or to have been told it was correct when you asked), and your belief that your award was right has to be 'reasonable' (or at least, that used to be the criteria). So there seems nothing to stop ANY overpaid victim from disputing!

The beauty of this is, the more we dispute and win our cases, the more pressure HMRC and the government fall under to repair this dangerous system! Conversely, the more people who are browbeaten into paying up, the more determined HMRC become that this is indeed the public's own fault and that recovery is fair!

So please take courage and pursue your disputes - if you believe you did all you could to ensure your payments were right. In helping yourselves, you are also helping others!

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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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 23/09/2008 :  06:51:25  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Best way to deflect unfair blame from us to where it truly belongs, with bungling HMRC, is to request your SARN data - all documentation and phone calls held - but few people know you can do this! Here's what the LITRG has to say on the subject:

from LOW INCOMES TAX REFORM GROUP - HM Revenue & Customs and the Taxpayer: A new Charter for HMRC and its Customers - RESPONSE TO CONSULTATIVE DOCUMENT

“As with any other safeguard, such as the ability to make a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act, the individual has to be aware of its existence before they can make use of it. HMRC therefore have a duty to promote all safeguards (including the Charter once it comes into being), keeping people informed of their rights, particularly in the event of a disagreement. For example, HMRC could send out a copy of – or draw attention to – the Charter with documents such as self assessment returns and PAYE coding notices.”

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HMRC evidently don't want to give us that fighting chance...



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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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2008 :  07:08:49  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
HMRC is too happy to blame claimants for 'fraud and error' although they are judge and jury in their OWN cause (so they get to decide whose 'fault' everything was - ie. ours for not spotting their mistakes rather than theirs for bungling). They still appear to keep no records of what was their fault and what was ours, and all OUR surveys and evidence actually suggests that HMRC is itself responsible for the vast majority of all that goes wrong! Even when claimants don't follow the rules, it eventually emerges that these 'rules' were never in place or made explicit at that time, OR that HMRC workers themselves misinterpreted them and gave bad advice! Funny how so many of these calls, ie. when a worker assures a claimant that their award is spot-on and can safely be spent - go missing, isn't it?

Anyway, we now have a new Tax Credit Casualties blog: You must be logged in to see this link.

Anyone can contribute to this 'Diary of the Damned', and I hope you all will. Here we have the chance for EVERYONE to have a voice, and your full identity isn't advertised, either! You can tell your tax credit horror story. Others not affected can also look in and see just what victims have to put up with on a daily basis!

Do visit You must be logged in to see this link. and pass word on... Thanks!

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 - 12/01/2009 :  07:15:47  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
It's been heartening recently to hear, either through the "Success" threat in this forum, directly or via Paula (our founder and leader, for those who don't know!) about so many successful disputes. I've been particularly chuffed when a claimant who has been treated as though they were fraudulent, dishonest or negligent is finally vindicated, and in time these successes will be notched up on official statistics as written-off disputes rather than cases where moneys were recovered, which in official eyes is equivalent to being a case of claimant fraud or claimant error.

More disputes, more successes, more onus on HMRC to justify recovery, answer charges of negligence and incompetence, respond to complaints and offer token "compensation" can only mean, in time, that the cost/benefit balance of recovering against writing off will be stroingly tipped towards writing off.

We have the chance here of using what has been a barrier to justice as an instrument of reform. We all know how long it takes HMRC to respond to questions, requests for clarification as to why they intend recovering an alleged overpayment, complaints, requests for data, etc. Now these long delays are only problematic if HMRC has started recovery tactics at the same time as the dispute is being conducted - ie, if the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing; OR if reinstatement of an award depends on HMRC sorting out its act. Therefore, as long as any current entitlement is correctly in pay, and recovery has been stopped, in theory your dispute can safely last years and it is still better to dispute with the intention of winning than to give up and pay up.

If you take a look at our home page, you'll see how most people completing the survey about how long they have been in dispute with HMRC have been disputing for three years or more. This just shows how long it takes to get justice, which is totally unfair to those left in suspense and hanging out for a resolution to the problem.

On the other hand, however, having thousands of disputes in the system is sending a powerful political message that the system isn't working. Whatever the outward rhetoric, there isn't a politician, I am sure, out there who genuinely believes in their heart of hearts that the system is operating safely and well. So come the next election, we want to all either have our 'debts' written off, or to still be in dispute at the time that policians and parties are jostling for our votes.

We will then, I am sure, see some U-turns being made. Right when I started disputing my now won case, and before I found Paula's website, I rang a union solicitor and the LITRG for advice. Both the solicitor and the welfare rights worker told me that justice might not be achievable until there was a 'change of administration'.

If Labour is faced with a situation where to continue to punish the overpayment victim will mean election defeat, suddenly we will see a change of policy to match whichever of the other main parties already has this on its agenda and is picking up more and more votes.

I am also wondering whether another option Labour might have would be to naturally 'allow' a higher rate of successes at the dispute stage between now and the next election, in the hope that there would be a lower level of ongoing disputes and the figures would then reflect this as though it were a major success, at the same time as dissent drops away due to fewer people experiencing harsh recovery injustices?

It remains to be seen whether the lust for money to be recovered outstrips the desire to retain power. I personally think we are seeing more successes not only because we are now so much better equipped to fight our oppressors, but also because the ruling party wants to look better in the eyes of the electorate without actually being seen to have a 'U' turn.

It's just a theory...

Trinity: No one has ever done anything like this.
Neo: That's why it's going to work.

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