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Tax credits: Campaigners urge HMRC to educate claimants to reduce errors - LITRG Press Release

Ahead of the Public Accounts Committee report on ‘HM Revenue & Customs: tax credits error and fraud’ (published Wednesday 22 May), LITRG issued a press release highlighting the need for HMRC to differentiate between the terms ‘error’ and ‘fraud’ and for HMRC to tailor its actions to reflect the difference between the two.

Speaking ahead of the publication of the Public Accounts Committee report, Anthony Thomas, Chairman of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, said:

“HMRC have been stepping up their investigations into tax credit claims. A common failing of such investigations so far has been a one-size-fits-all approach which tends to ignore the subtleties of a highly complex system, leading to far too many claimants being deprived of entitlements which are rightfully theirs.

“Of the total amount attributable to ‘fraud and error’ in tax credits, about two-thirds is accountable for by error, one-third by fraud. Yet HMRC’s strategy is almost exclusively reliant on anti-fraud measures. A more productive approach, and one that would enable HMRC to achieve its targets more effectively, would be to devote more resources to educating claimants to avoid error in the first place.

“HMRC must also pay more attention to analysing where they themselves make mistakes in administering the system (official error), a problem about which they remain in denial.”

(22-05-13)

Contact: Robin Williamson (please use form at http://www.litrg.org.uk/ContactUs)

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