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Challenging Tax Credit Decisions

If your tax credit claim is reduced or disputed, it can be very upsetting and worrying to be faced with possibly losing income that you rely on.

Try not to panic and focus on dealing with what has been asked for so you can respond as soon as possible.
If you are not sure why you have been asked for further information, telephone the number on the letter you have received and ask why they think your claim is not correct. Be polite but persistent in getting an answer.
If the person who answers cannot help, ask to speak to someone who can help or ask that someone who can help will call you back. Make a note of the date and time of the phone call and the name of the person you spoke to.
Start putting together the information they ask for as soon as possible – if you need copies of bills or bank statements it can some time to obtain them, so it is best to start straight away.
Whenever you need to send information to support a claim for tax credits or other benefits:

1. Put the date of sending on everything you send in and make sure you keep a copy of all the documents and any letters you send:
  • ideally scan them and save them on a computer
  • or you can take a good photo of them with a camera or phone and save each photo with the name of the document you have scanned
  • or photocopy them at a local shop or printers
2. Send the information by recorded delivery and attach the receipt to the letter that requested the information.  It is expensive, but it can be worth it to be able to prove that you sent the information. If your papers are lost and HMRC claim they were never received, they do not have to pay your claim until the time that you realise and re-send it.

3. Get organised: make sure you keep all your bills, bank statements, tenancy agreement, correspondence and papers organised safely. You can buy a set of card folders very cheaply and it could save you hundreds or even thousands of pounds to be able to send the information requested before the deadline you are set.

If you receive a letter saying your tax credit claim is subject to compliance checks:
For advice on what to do, see the Gingerbread website. Whilst this organisation is aimed at single parents, the advice is the same for anyone subject to a compliance check:
If you believe a decision against you is wrong, you can request a Mandatory Reconsideration: this is simply asking the Inland Revenue to look again at the decision. For advice on how to do this, see the Money Saving Expert website: www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/family/2016/09/concentrix-tax-credits-shambles---how-to-appeal-and-get-your-credits-backdated
If you are getting nowhere – contact your MP. They can complain to the Inland Revenue on your behalf and are often most successful at getting cases dealt with properly. You can find your MP by inputting your postcode at: www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

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