“ HM Revenue and Customs „
Tax credits are paid to people responsible for at least one child. The amount you recieve depends upon the number of children you have, and your income. You are usually assessed on your previous years income, but if your current annual income changes I find it best to inform tax credits right away, rather than waiting for the annual review pack and finding you have been overpaid!
I've heard all the horror stories regarding overpayments of tax credits, but I haven't had any problems at all in the 5 years I have claimed them. I have found that by keeping the tax credits people uptodate on changing circumstances and increases in income , rather than waiting for the annual review pack wich is sent out in April, seems to keep you on track. Once you have recieved your annual review pack, you can submit the information by telephone straight away, or by the enclosed form you have until July.
Child Tax Credits are for people who are responsible for at least one child. It is paid direct to the person who is mainly responsible for caring for the child or children. How much you get depends on your annual household income, and how many children you have got. I never thought we were elligible until I found a leaflet in the bounty pack I received from hospital saying you can claim if you are earning less then £65,000.
Filling in the forms is fairly simple but there is a lot that is wrong with the tax credit system.
Tax credits work on a tax system calendar. This means that they base the entitlement on the previous year's income. So before an award had even started they use the wrong income figures for the claimant's entitlement for that year. If your cicumstances change then this causes huge problems. My circumstances changed, I was no longer earning as I was on maternity leave. This has created many "overpayments" and confusion for thousands of people including myself.
If I could give the Tax credit office no stars on my review I would!. I have been in dispute with the TCO for 18 months regarding our "alleged" overpayment. I had to send off for my recorded phonecalls where you can hear me sobbing my heart out in the background, they have caused my family so much distress.
We have been told we didnt send our annual renewal form back on time, and that this was the result of our "overpayment" After prooving that we had not only sent it back but sent it back on time, we were told some information was missing from the form regarding my salary, I explained I wasnt earning a salary as I was on maternity leave and there was nowhere on the form to be able to put this, but I did phone them and tell them this within the set time frame. I provided proof, print outs from HMRCS own system and recorded phonecalls which took me months to receive, they said it was all rectified.
I have a recorded phone conversation from them admitting it was HMRCs fault. We have been told our claim would be restored, that we wouldnt have to pay them back yet we still received thretening letters from them saying they will take us to court if we do not pay them back. At no point have they explained why we should pay the money back based on our earnings, meaning they made no attempt and an extensive investigation, if they had then we would not have still been in dispute 18 months later.
The Tax Credit office are a complete FARCE. They ignore your letters and say they have not received them. When you say you have sent them recorded and signed for they will tell you in the same breath "oh yes" they have received them but they cannot find them as they are buried underneath many many, other cases. They lie to you, telling you that your claim will be written off yet do not record this, and so we are hounded by them , weeks, months, years later.
I want to tell everyone whos had problems with theit Tax credits to go on a website called TCC (Tax Credit Casualties), here you will find a support and advice on the (lengthy) steps you should take. My advice? DO NOT give up. DO NOT let the TCO bully you onto paying them back due to their incompetance and ignorance.
ASK THEM to prove to you WHY you should pay it back NOT the other way around. It is the job of the overpayment dispute team to do the digging NOT you. Yet I have spent hours and hours on the phone to them, hours writing letters to them, hours trying to track down all my personal data and recorded phonecalls, I actually think they should be paying me a salary as I seem to be doing their job!!
It dosnt help that you can never speak to the same person twice and that they do not give you their surname. It dosnt help that you cannot phone the overpayment dispute team direct as apparently "they have no number" and "you have to write to them". I was passed to the complaints department, Where the letter I wrote to them over a month ago had still not be "assigned" to anyone. I was told Id be phoned back the same day, and I never was.
Last week I was told my payments would finally be written off and my case closed, and it was closed by someone in the complaints department, who never even listened to my recorded phonecalls (he couldnt find the copy I sent to him.) he simply read one of my many letters. he told me it he would write off the payements because someone had already told us that they would due to the error of HMRC and that this was on a recorded phonecall, (which I told him about but he never actually listened to) therefore he was obliged to and he tried to tell me the reason was because of the jargon that the TCO use, which was confusing he mentioned nothing about our earnings, or problems encountered with their own systems, Im pleased that we dont have to pay to pay it back but still angry that a full investigation was never made, and that I received no letter confirming this and no apology.
I would never claim child tax credits again, Im still eligable but would never want to put myself or my family through the stress again.