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Thanks for your question
Are you referring to tax credits ? How long have you been with your partner ? What prompted you to write to advise that you no longer wanted to claim, have you received any correspondence regarding your claim? (other than the renewal notice)
Yes, I am talking about Tax credits. We have been married for eighteen years. My husband spent 3years in Italy from 2003-2006. During those years i claimed as a single person. What promted me to write was that I couldn't live with the guilt . No I have not recieved any correspondence regarding my claim other than the renewal form.
I am absolutely worried sick and so afraid that my world is going to come crashing down around me. Do you think i should write to them to tell them the truth? I am not a bad person. I work as a teacher in a secondary school and have a good quality of life. Another thing... will my husband be liable for my debt?
Thanks for your response.
I am a great believer in coming forward and being honest about matters, but this has to be your choice how you take matters forward, as many other accountants will say the opposite ! (Wait until tax credits come to you)
The fact that you will now sever any claim of tax credits is a good start, and have undertaken this of your own back is also great, as the position will not get any worse, but clearly this a matter for you to decide as to whether you make a full declaration, as to the claims back to 2006.
Any decision your make to disclose the position since 2006, will fall on being your money to owe, rather than it being your husbands to pay. Whilst you do not advise how much tax credits you have claimed each year (that would be due for repayment) before doing anything that is to lead to a full disclosure ,I would be inclined to seek some support to mange this for you, such as a tax specialist, who is familiar with cases like this (although usually they would be cases in which tax credits have chosen to investigate matters, rather than case where a full disclosure has been made) They will be able to argue on your behalf regarding the fact that you came forward and ceased making any further claims, which will be taken into account with the tax credit office.
This error of judgment does not make you a bad person, and the tax credit office will recognise this too, but I am sure you can appreciate will want their money back, and this can often be an unpleasant situation to be undergoing. (I do not want to flower this up to be a really simple process) But coming forward will greatly reduce the penalties due. And avoid prosecution.
At this time, you also need to consider how you will pay back the tax credits owed, are you able to raise the amount to be asked for as a lump sum.
Do feel free to ask any follow up questions.
Shall i wait to the tax credits office get in contact with me or should i ring them ( I would rather write). I am shaking with fear . I do prefer to write everything down. I am afraid that i will have police cars turning up in front of my door, and the whole wolrd will know about my dishonesty. It is frigthening. My husband is a diamond and i do not wish to implicate him in this matter at all.
Do you think it would be a good idea to write?
First I promise you there will be police cars coming to your home,or your shame being there for all the world to see, this will be handled directly and discreetly between you and the tax credit office and I can understand this is all very overwhelming and scary, but in life we ALL make mistakes, and you want to put this mistake right, and that's a very brave thing to do.
In view of your upset over this, I would be inclined to find a specialist that can handle this for you - yes it will cost money, but the amount they can save you by negotiating on your behalf and also saving you the stress and additional worry, will be worth the cost involved. And let them approach HMRC for you, as the first contact in taking this matter forward.
Whether you talk to your husband again has to be a matter for you to decide, but it seems to me, that although he will be a little cross, he sounds like he would be further support to you, and you telling him will just allow you to start breathing again without fear. And right now, I think you are punishing yourself far worse than either the tax credit office or your husband could do.
If you need to come back, for any support, then do so, do not be alone with this worry, and its not anything that cannot be sorted out - I promise
I don't think that i understood the first paragraph. I asked if police cars would be coming to my home and you answered that that could happen. have i understood this correctly. Would you say that it would be a good idea to write to them and disclose everything
I am sorry - I missed out the not
It should have read
First I promise you there will NOT be police cars coming to your home,or your shame being there for all the world to see, this will be handled directly and discreetly between you and the tax credit office and I can understand this is all very overwhelming and scary, but in life we ALL make mistakes, and you want to put this mistake right, and that's a very brave thing to do.
Yes I think its the best way forward to write and disclose everything.
Dear Sam, Will the tax credit office get in contact with me via post? I would hate there to be a scene outside my front door. Shall I write to them first thing ? I have not yet spoken to my husband about this. Do you think it would be a good idea to do this first. I feel able to write a letter on my own.
I am weeping inside as i feel lost . Do i need to seek legal advice before I write or can I do this now? Will i loose my job over this, will they have to be informed?
I cannot know whether the tax credit office will pursue you on the back of the letter you have already written. They may just accept you severing your claim at face value, and not take any further action. But as you advise, this will always be a worry to you, and its the right thing to do to make a full disclosure, and what I advise with my expert opinion.
If you feel able to handle this on your own, then yes write a further letter as soon as possible, and make a full disclosure of the position along with your explanation. You do not need to seek legal advise, but I just felt that to seek the help of a tax credit specialist would be an idea, to offer you support during this process. But if you feel able to do this on your own, then do this as soon as possible.
You will not lose your job over this, as this has no impact on your employment position and as you have come forward to tax credits this will be handed as a civil rather than criminal matter.
Tax credits will take note of your letter, and then ask for what information they need, to reassess your award to establish what you owe them, along with any penalties. Then you need to arrange with them how you pay this figure advised on.
This process could take several months, whilst they gather all they need, so comply with all that is asked of you.
How you approach your husband (whether before or after the letter) is up to you, as you know him best.
Dear Sam, Will follow your advice and write a letter tomorrow.
Will this be seen as a way of coming clean? I would hate that they would be nasty and unplesant. I only hope that my marriage can be saved.
Will this become a court case? I have no idea how public it will be ? Have I got a right to a closed " court hearing " if applicable?
Thanks for your response
Yes it will be seen as you coming clean (making a full disclosure voluntarily is the HMRC term) Some officers are more "jobs worth" than others, O I do not know whether you will get a really nice officer, or one that is more efficient with their attitude and dealings with work, but I can advise that you just need to be compliant with them regardless of their attitude.
If you are able to pay what is owed, and stick to any payment plan they propose (which will take affordability into account) then this has no reason to go any further than a civil matter between you and the tax credit office. Cass only go to court when
1) They discover your claim was not genuine and pursue you through an enquiry prompted by HMRC OR
2) You fail to pay or comply
3) Its such a huge sum, that it needs to be re-cooped through the court system
As you want to come clean and pay what is owed, and are willing to comply, the matter should not go any further than HMRC.
If the case goes go to court, and its tribunal then this is a closed case, just you, HMRC and the judges but when cases go to crown court, it is never a closed court hearing, as HMRC do not have the powers to ask this of the courts.
Dear Sam ,
Each time I ask a question do i pay you ? I am on the monthly subsciption plan? I have always had a fear of signing up for anything like this. I appriciate all you advice and will type a letter first thing in the morning. I would hope that the Tax credit office will see that as a means of being honest and willing to pay back any money which is due to them. I hope that this will not affect my husband . He has not signed anywhere and I have continued to claim as a single person without his knowledge.Thank you so much for all you advice, it has been very helpful and i hope that the tax credits will be seeing me coming forward as a mean to facilitate that they will be able to retrieve any money which is due to them. I am allowed to ask them to deal directly and discretly with me , or will this go to the papers and the crown court?
Sorry for the delay - had a minor crisis with eldest child! ( A Queen bee flew into bedroom!)
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This will not affect your husband directly as this is a claim you have made, but it may be that they ask for your actual annual income, which then may mean you need to approach your husband for details of his income, so they can see that there was no valid claim (as a joint position) so just be mindful of this, but he certainly will not be pursued for the money, so make this clear to the tax credit office, that he had no idea of your continuing claim.
Tax credits will look at this position based on facts - these are
1) Yes there has been a incorrect claim
2) You have made a full disclosure and have stopped further claims
3) You have supplied the information explaining the position
4) So make sure that you comply with all that is asked of you
5) Await the tax credit assessment of what you owe and then liaise with them accordingly.
HMRC never go to the papers, but when they pursue for a fraud claim (previously not disclosed) they can sometimes issue press releases, after a case has been to court (where they announce the amount and the outcome) but you are not being enquired into, but are coming forward to make a full disclosure so by all means in your letter state that you hope this matter will be considerate of the fact you have come forward and dealt with using discretion and taking into account that your husband is not aware of the mistake you have made.