Tax Credit Fraud Solicitors
HMRC state that the "Tax Credit Office takes the issue of tax credit fraud very seriously and aims to run a tax credits system that you can trust to support you." However it is a matter of parliamentary record that during the early years of operation of the Tax Credit Helpline some 631,000 calls were not recorded. These will have included people who have reported changes of circumstances that have not been recorded which could result in an overpayment demand or a criminal investigation.
It is important for anybody who is claiming Tax Credits to bear in mind that what may be a small weekly payment may quickly amount to many thousands of pounds of overpayment which they may allege has been fraudulently obtained.
There are basically 2 types of investigation that HMRC will undertake. According to their website these are as follows: -
When the Tax Credit Office discovers a case of fraud they can: -
- charge a financial penalty
There are two types of investigation they can use to deal with tax credit fraud: -
This is where we at Mark Jones and Partners may be able to help. Our specialist and dedicated team of lawyers with our Tax Credit / Benefit Fraud Department can assist you in all aspects of any criminal Tax Credit Fraud investigation. The rules in respect of Tax Credits are based upon pre-existing rules in relation to welfare benefits and our specialist team will ensure that HMRC have followed all of their own rules and regulations in the preparation of your defence.
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The aim of a civil investigation is to get back any tax credits payments that have been falsely claimed through fraud, along with any interest. The Tax Credit Office will also charge a financial penalty. A civil investigation does not prosecute.
If the Tax Credit Office charges someone a penalty, they can consider reducing it if the person: -
- realised they had made a mistake
- told the Tax Credit Office all the facts voluntarily, without being prompted to do so - and before any check of their details had started
For example, a person could have realised their mistake after reading a leaflet about tax credits, or information on the internet.
The Tax Credit Office tries to deal with tax credit fraud using civil investigations whenever possible. They’ll only use criminal investigations in very serious cases where:
- they want to send a strong message to stop other people from trying the same thing
- the person has acted in a way that makes a criminal investigation the only option
Serious cases include: -
- organised tax credit fraud
- where false statements have been made
- where fake documents have been given to the Tax Credit Office
- where people claiming tax credit have hidden information from the Tax Credit Office or misled them on purpose
- where someone's carried out the same type of offence before
- where there's proof that Tax Credit Office staff have been assaulted or threatened
- where people have pretended to be their employees
However, the government have vastly increased spending for the Tax Credit Investigation Service which may indicate a change in policy as we have seen many benefit claimants now having tax credit charges laid against them following an increase in joint investigations by the Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
MJP solicitors understand that often people who are being investigated for tax credit fraud may well be having their first experience of the Criminal Justice System. We appreciate that this can cause untold stress, fear and a feeling of helplessness, particularly bearing in mind the numerous headlines over recent years where HMRC have simply got their figures wrong resulting in overpayments being raised in respect of many thousands of struggling families. We are there to provide quality legal advice and reassurance regarding the whole process.
Tax Credit Fraud Services
Our solicitors provide tax credit fraud services at: -
- Interviews under Caution
- Magistrates' Court
- Crown Court
- Court of Appeal
Throughout the UK including Liverpool, The Wirral, Manchester and London.
If you are under investigation for Tax Credit Fraud, you need specialist assistance from our Tax Credit Fraud Solicitors. For free advice call now - 0333 011 0516 or use the contact page to leave a message
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