Tax credit claimants are being reminded that they must let HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) know immediately if a partner moves in or out. Deliberately failing to let HMRC know could constitute criminal fraud and result in prosecution.
As part of a wider Government crackdown on error and fraud in benefits and credits, letters will start to land on doorsteps this week asking claimants to contact HMRC if their personal circumstances have changed. Because tax credits are flexible, the amount claimants receive changes as their circumstances change.
Failure to tell HMRC promptly of changes can result in overpayment, which means claimants will have to pay back the money they have received. They may also face a penalty and, in cases of deliberate fraud, imprisonment.
Some 150,000 or 2.5 per cent of all tax credit claims in 2008/09 were incorrect single claims.
David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“There has been too much error and too much fraud for too long in our benefits and tax credits systems. It is unfair, unaffordable and unacceptable. Today we are shining a light on the problem across the system and setting out a radical, cross-Government solution. We simply have to make every penny count – and that includes going after the cheats at every level.”
Notes to editors
1. For information on the Government’s new Fraud and Error strategy for benefits and tax credits please see http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press%2Dreleases/ .
2. For general tax credits information: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/index.htm.
3. Help and advice is also available from the tax credits helpline on 0845 300 3900, operating from 8.00am to 8.00pm, seven days a week.
4. For tax credits statistics: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/menu.htm.
5. Fact sheet and case studies attached.
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
Press enquiries only please contact:
Phone: For enquiries please contact the issuing dept