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Year-long support brought ‘huge relief’ as £7,000 bill is cancelled

Many Citizens Advice clients benefit from the persistence of our volunteer advisers. This case took nearly a year to reach a conclusion.

Julia* was effectively a single mother. Her teenage daughter was autistic, had other problems and needed everyday care.

Julia first contacted Citizens Advice when she received a letter from HMRC asking if she should still be claiming Child Tax Credits as a single person. She was about to report a change in circumstances.

She had married her partner a few years previously, but they had never lived together and he had never contributed financially to her home. Now he was now about to move in with Julia. 

The HMRC response to the reported change in circumstances was a shock. HMRC said they had overpaid her and she owed them nearly £7,000.

4 months later Julia received 2 letters

Our adviser Richard now worked with Julia on a reply disputing the claim. When they heard nothing for several weeks he began a series of phone and letter requests for a response. Eventually, 4 months later, Julia received 2 letters referring to different tax years.

The first demanded payment for a substantially smaller amount which Julia thought it best to pay.  But the second, less than one month later, continued to demand the original amount. Richard wrote again questioning this and also complained about the delay and confusion.

Nothing to pay

After another month, they received an incomplete response and Richard wrote again. Finally, nearly a year after Julia’s first contact, she and Richard received letters confirming there was nothing to pay – the second (paid) amount had been overstated and Julia was due a refund!

Julia wrote expressing her huge relief and thanking Richard for his help. Reflecting on the case, Richard said ‘It did take a long time. On a few occasions we seemed to be making no progress at all but we kept going and reached a satisfactory conclusion. Julia was spared a long-term repayment plan and will herself get a repayment (eventually!)’ 

* Name changed

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