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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Income support, JSA and tax credits  →  Thread

tax credits appeal?

dizzymare
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up until recent times, I have had good success where a claimant has had an over payment at either getting the issue resolved via the dispute procedure or getting the over payment written off.  I have very little experience of actually going to appeal on tax credits (The ones I have done have been mainly LTAHAW decisions). The willingness to at least consider disputes seems to have gone well and truly out of the window since UC and I just get standard 3 months to dispute tough! letters now

I have a very frustrating situation and Im wondering if we might be able to appeal?

client self employed in 15/16; got a new job April 2016 and called 7/04/16 (so in 16/17 tax year to report new job and estimated income for 16/17). Operator made an error and input new income into 15/16 tax year which bought award to an end and created an overpayment.

Client contacted TCO who admitted their mistake and said they would sort it out.
Letter sent to client asking for final income for 15/16 so that they could correct error and recalculate. Client sends tax return by recorded delivery to address on letter, and has a receipt. She moves house shortly afterwards. She doesn’t update TCO because she was told error would be corrected and knows not due WTC on new income. Hears nothing more until she claims UC and up pops the overpayment.  Clt tried to resolve - no success. gets usual 3 months to dispute etc.

We have made a Tier one complaint and sent proof of posting. This was ignored, we got standard response of 3 months to dispute but no mention of proof of posting. second complaint stating official error carries no time limit. Overpayment not caused by claimant, she provided info, TCO admitted error, she responded and provided information requested. Response - will not treat as official error since she didnt tell us new address, or answer our request for information, her own fault so overpayment stands. Called the officer and pointed out she did provide info to the right address, we have letter showing address, receipt showing where she sent it so it is TCO that havent met responsibilities not her.  Response was, ive completed my investigation now so go to adjudicator (which of course we are)

Im now considering if this would carry a right of appeal? I know that there is no appeal where a claimant has been overpaid, and you can only use the dispute procedure. However, this claimant really hasn’t been overpaid. It is an error caused by poor administration? she did in fact receive what she was entitled to?

I haven’t managed to get them to do a Mandatory recon yet but will give it another go if anyone thinks this could be worth a try?  (ive tried write off under exceptional circs as she hasn’t done anything wrong but they have referred me to UC for that) anything else anyone could suggest?  thank you

Elliot Kent
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I should think it would have to be a threat of JR against the refusal to conduct an official error revision of the 15/16 decision as per the tier 2 complaints officer.

Unless I am missing something, the complaint officer’s response “you should have told us about your change of address” is not remotely on point. The official error was in the 15/16 decision - the officer input the wrong information. The claimant did not contribute to that error. The basis for official error revision exists and is in time.

That the claimant has (putting it at its absolute highest) failed to respond to arbitrary requests for information which HMRC already has and at any event doesn’t need is hardly a rational basis to choose not to exercise a power which plainly arises on the facts.

So you can send them a pre-action letter (http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/judicial-review-project) or could try to lodge an appeal. Revenue benefits hints that an appeal might be possible in these circumstances but I am not really sure that you want to set your client up as the test case (https://revenuebenefits.org.uk/tax-credits/guidance/how-to-deal-with-hmrc/appeals/official-error/)

dizzymare
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Thank you - its quite ludicrous. I hadn’t considered JR though, so thank you for that suggestion and will try that now

dizzymare
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Elliot Kent - 02 May 2019 08:41 PM

I should think it would have to be a threat of JR against the refusal to conduct an official error revision of the 15/16 decision as per the tier 2 complaints officer.

Unless I am missing something, the complaint officer’s response “you should have told us about your change of address” is not remotely on point. The official error was in the 15/16 decision - the officer input the wrong information. The claimant did not contribute to that error. The basis for official error revision exists and is in time.

That the claimant has (putting it at its absolute highest) failed to respond to arbitrary requests for information which HMRC already has and at any event doesn’t need is hardly a rational basis to choose not to exercise a power which plainly arises on the facts.

So you can send them a pre-action letter (http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/judicial-review-project) or could try to lodge an appeal. Revenue benefits hints that an appeal might be possible in these circumstances but I am not really sure that you want to set your client up as the test case (https://revenuebenefits.org.uk/tax-credits/guidance/how-to-deal-with-hmrc/appeals/official-error/)

HI just wanted to thank you Elliot for the link to the templates. I did follow this and sent a pre action letter, and as a result, the decision on the overpayment was revised. very useful information

 

Elliot Kent
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Pleased to hear it and pleased I could help. You should let Jess at CPAG know as she is always keen for feedback on the letters!

dizzymare
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of course - happy to do so thank you

Daphne
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You can give the feedback online at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PM2F32W

dizzymare
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completed Daphne - thank you