Help with tax credit overpayments

Published on 30 November 2009

A new guide written for the man or woman in the street aimed at enabling them to challenge tax credit overpayments is published today. LITRG has written the guide to help claimants through the complexities of fighting a tax credits overpayment decision and to enable them to decide how to fight and how to find extra help.

The amount outstanding in tax credit overpayments at April 2008, according to the latest available statistics, was estimated to be around £1 billion. At the same date, more than one million tax credit awards were overpaid. Some overpayments arise because of the normal operation of the system but a large proportion happen because of errors. Some of those errors are made by the claimant, but many can be made by HMRC who administer the tax credits system.

It is sometimes not obvious to a claimant that an overpayment has arisen; it is even more common for HMRC not to be able to explain accurately and clearly why the overpayment arose.

With that background LITRG has produced a guide (Tax credit overpayments) to everything you might want to know about how an overpayment arises and what you might want to do about it.

Victoria Todd of the LITRG, the author of the guide, explains:

“In the last 12 months I have been involved with cases where overall some £150,000 has been written off by HMRC after challenge. These sums were originally confirmed by HMRC as payable, even in some cases after being taken up by an MP.

"To challenge successfully you have to know the rules and what I have tried to do is to set out a logical way of approaching the problem. I hope it enables claimants, who have done everything they could to comply with the rules, to end up being fairly treated by HMRC.”

LITRG worked in partnership with legal information website Advicenow. In doing so we benefited greatly from the wealth of experience that they have in design and editing publications explaining complex legal subjects.

To download a free copy of the guide Tax credit overpayments click on the link below. As tax credits overpayment situations can be very complex it is always advisable to take advice in the light of your own situation and not rely totally on a guide.

When you have read the guide we would appreciate it if you could fill in a quick survey to let us have your feedback. This will then be used to improve the next version of the guide due out in Spring 2010. Thank you.

To open the file click Tax credits overpayments.

(30-11-2009)

Contact Name: John Andrews (0844 579 6700 Fax 0844 579 6701)