Lost tax credit claims - but all is not lost

Published on 3 December 2007

It is not uncommon for HMRC to lose letters and claims from their customers. When the Tax Credit Office loses tax credit claims it is the customer that is forced to claim again. This can mean a significant loss of tax credits. But HMRC’s own guidance says that claimants should receive one-off system payments when they can produce evidence of a lost claim.

Due to organised fraud attacks on HMRC, the online claims facility for tax credits is no longer open; claimants therefore have no choice but to apply for tax credits via post.

But what happens if the claim form fails to arrive at HMRC; or worse still if the claim form arrives safely at the Tax Credit Office, but goes missing after delivery? Unfortunately, the claimant has to make another claim and the hard work begins to get the entitlement back-dated to the date of the original missing claim.

We advise claimants to send all documents, including claim forms, by recorded delivery. However, we have seen claims sent by recorded delivery lost after recorded arrival and still it takes considerable persistence to obtain the full back-dated entitlement.

Part of the problem is the inflexibility of the computer system which cannot easily cope with backdating and staff not being aware of their own guidance. However, that guidance indicates that claimants should receive off-system payments where they can establish evidence of an earlier claim.

The guidance goes on to explain what evidence is acceptable and this includes an acknowledgement letter from HMRC, a recorded delivery receipt, a contact centre recorded call or enquiries from the claimant following up a claim.

The full list of evidence and the guidance can be found here.

(03-12-2007)

Contact: Victoria Todd (Tel: 0844 579 6700 Fax 0844 579 6701)