January 14th, 2009 9 Comments » | POSTED BY ROB
Our Child Tax Credit Nightmare
Warning: what follows may be of little interest unless you’re involved in the workings of the excellent U.K. tax credit system.
Both my partner and myself received fantastic letters from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs this morning, to notify us that they were stopping paying us the zero tax credits that they’ve been paying us for the last couple of years. Yes, that’s right, two letters to let us know we weren’t going to receive anything when we already hadn’t been receiving anything for the last few years.
This is just one in a series of mess ups we’ve seen from the HMRC in our saga, which has been going on for the best part of 3 years, since our daughter (our second child) was born.
When she arrived, we notified the HMRC of the situation, and eventually they came back saying that we owed them a couple of hundred quid for some reason, which we disputed. And this dispute went on and on, largely because communicating with them was such a pain – call centers couldn’t answer straight questions, you’d ask for a call back from a supervisor and never get the call. This went on for weeks, eventually we resorted to writing letters, but this still failed to resolve the problem.
At this point, we decided (in hindsight, a bad decision), to give up on it, as we thought back then that it wasn’t worth the hassle for a few extra quid.
A couple of weeks ago, we started to wonder whether we were missing out by not claiming any Child Tax Credits that we could still be entitled to – we both work and pay our taxes, and whilst a couple of years ago we thought we could do without it, given the hassle we were getting claiming it, right now every penny counts to us, so why shouldn’t we claim what we are entitled to?
So once again we approached the HMRC to see if the situation had changed and if we could get it sorted out. We submitted some more information, and awaited a reply. I thought they may come back and say we owed them money, which, although we still dispute that we owe them anything, I was now willing to pay, if I knew it would mean we’d make it back over the months we were receiving the tax credits.
Which brings us to today’s letters, telling us that we no longer qualify for the credits that they weren’t paying to us anyway.
I still feel in the dark about the whole situation – are we simply not entitled to anything? I’d admit that I need to do some more research to find this out, as it has been my partner who has really been looking after this problem, but I suspect that even if we are entitled to them, it will still be a pain to sort out.
It’s also frustrating not knowing where to turn to next, if we are indeed still entitled to the tax credits. We’ve tried phoning , writing etc., so what’s the next step? This is really what stopped us pursuing the claim in the past, but times have changed and now we’re more eager to get all we’re entitled to. I’m not too concerned if we can’t reclaim anything we may have been entitled to in the last 3 years, as it was our decision to give up chasing it, but going forward, it would be good to get the money we should have, given our contributions to the tax man.
In some ways I think we were stupid to drop the claim when we did, but 3 years down the line, we are entitled to change our minds, aren’t we? And with the government seemingly promising tax payer’s money to bail out people left right and center, I’m eager to get more for my family.
I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has had similar experiences with the tax credit system, and what the outcome was? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
photo credit: Larsz
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