Research Library

This page attempts to bring together all of the available facts, figures and reports about Tax Credits and Tax Credit overpayments. Please let us know if you come across anything that you think should be included.

Contents

  1. Codes and Abbreviations Used By HMRC
  2. Tax Credit Manuals and Other HMRC Information
  3. Different Versions of COP26
  4. Official HMRC Tax Credit Statistics
  5. Tax Credit Office MP Hotline
  6. The Adjudicator's Office Reports
  7. Parliamentary Ombudsman Reports
  8. Public Accounts Committee Reports
  9. Public Administration Select Committee Reports
  10. Tax Credit Consultation Group Meeting Minutes
  11. The Tax Credit Act (2002)



Codes and Abbreviations Used By HMRC

A list of the codes and abbreviations that the HMRC Tax Credit Office uses is very useful if you're trying to work your way through your Subject Access Request data once you've received it. These are a bit rare, so download our copy:

List of Abbreviations and Codes Used By The Tax Credit Office


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Tax Credit Manuals and Other HMRC Information


Tax Credit Rates & Allowances Rates and thresholds of Tax Credits
Tax Credits Manual The HMRC Tax Credits Manual
Tax Credit Technical Manual A guide to the law relating to Tax Credits
Tax Credits Claimant Compliance Manual The HMRC manual regarding claimant compliance
List of Tax Credit Forms and Letters List of Tax Credit forms and letters used by HMRC
Tax Credit Leaflets Other Tax Credit leaflets, letters and inserts sent out by HMRC
Staff Manuals Homepage The main page for all HMRC staff manuals
On-Line Library The main page for the HMRC on-line library

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Different Versions of COP26

HMRC Code of Practice 26 details what happens if you have an overpayment of Tax Credits. There is still confusion about which version of COP 26 applies to different disputes.

HMRC apparently told the Tax Credit Consultation Group that the relevant date is when the dispute decision was actually made, but no mention can be found within the TCCG meeting minutes to verify this.

So, all new dispute decisions made on or after 31st January 2008 should have the new test applied. The 'old reasonable belief' test will apply if HMRC have already made a decision before 31st January 2008, using the reasonable belief test, and the claimant is not happy with that decision. When the claimant asks them to look at it again, they’ll be looking to see if they made the decision correctly and therefore applying the old test.


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Official HMRC Tax Credit Statistics

Full Tax Credit statistics can be found at: HMRC Statistics: Personal Tax Credits

The overpayment figures below are taken from the 'Child and Working Tax Credit Statistics Finalised Annual Award Supplement On Payments' report for the relevant years:

Finalised Tax Credit 
 Awards 2008-2009
There were 6,996,000 claims for Tax Credits.
1,036,000 claims were overpaid by a total of £917,000,000.
That's 14.81% of all claims still OVERPAID.
Finalised Tax Credit 
 Awards 2007-2008
There were 6,730,000 claims for Tax Credits.
1,334,000 claims were overpaid by a total of £941,000,000.
That's 19.82% of all claims still OVERPAID.
Finalised Tax Credit 
 Awards 2006-2007
There were 6,530,000 claims for Tax Credits.
1,291,000 claims were overpaid by a total of £953,000,000.
That's 19.77% of all claims still OVERPAID.
This is the first year that the higher £25,000 income disregard came into force.
Finalised Tax Credit 
 Awards 2005-2006
There were 6,480,000 claims for Tax Credits.
1,902,000 claims were overpaid by a total of £1,573,000,000.
That's 29.32% of all claims OVERPAID.
Finalised Tax Credit 
 Awards 2004-2005
There were 6,458,000 claims for Tax Credits.
1,958,000 claims were overpaid by a total of £1,695,000,000.
That's 30.32% of all claims OVERPAID.
Finalised Tax Credit 
 Awards 2003-2004
There were 5,670,000 claims for Tax Credits.
1,879,000 claims were overpaid by a total of £1,931,000,000.
That's 33.14% of all claims OVERPAID.

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Tax Credit Office MP Hotline

The table below shows the number of calls answered by the 'Tax Credit Office MP Hotline' staff.

In the period 2006-2007, 416 calls by MPs were abandoned before being answered. A further 202 calls were unanswered in the period from April 2007- February 2008.

Calls by MPs to Tax Credit MP Hotline
Month/Year 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
April 1,882 930 1,411 1,164 1,199
May 4,371 774 942 1,402 1,286
June 4,186 1,000 1,234 1,535 Unavailable
July 1,472 1,114 1,433 1,294 Unavailable
August 858 991 1,337 1,348 Unavailable
September 815 1,326 1,300 1,398 Unavailable
October 1,032 1,328 1,463 1,599 Unavailable
November 835 1,714 1,987 1,823 Unavailable
December 916 1,675 1,613 1,458 Unavailable
January 1,032 1,730 1,712 1,498 Unavailable
February 1,052 1,690 1,195 1,351 Unavailable
March 839 1,700 1,241 1,490 Unavailable
Totals 19,290 15,972 16,868 17,360 2,485

Sources: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers:
21 February 2005 (pt 20) Column 76W
18 October 2005 (pt 29) Column 924W
21 March 2006 (pt 41) Column 348W
25 June 2007 (pt 0096) Column 419W
1 May 2008 (pt 0012) Column 634W


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The Adjudicator's Office Reports

The Adjudicator acts as a referee looking into complaints about HMRC, including the Tax Credit Office (TCO). They investigate and help to resolve complaints from individuals and businesses who remain unhappy about the way their affairs have been handled. Their leaflet AO1 gives detailed information about how they deal with complaints, and there is more information available on The Adjudicator's website.

Links to each of The Adjudicator's Annual Reports are below:


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Parliamentary Ombudsman Reports

The Parliamentary Ombudsman (PO) carry out independent investigations into complaints about poor service and unfair, or improper, actions by Government Departments or their agents.

More information can be found on the Parliamentary Ombudsman website. There used to be a lot of useful information on their website, but following an upgrade the site has become little more than window dressing, with a great deal of information having vanished. In fact, it almost seems as if the purpose of the website upgrade was to make things difficult for visitors.

Links to The Ombudsman's reports regarding Tax Credits are below.

PO 3rd Report Session 2005-06 Tax Credits: Putting Things Right
PO 5th Report Session 2006-07 Tax Credits: Getting It Wrong?

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Public Accounts Committee Reports

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is appointed by the House of Commons to examine “the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure, and of such other accounts laid before Parliament as the committee may think fit”. More information can be found on the PAC website.

You can read all documents published by the Public Accounts Committee on The Parliament website.

Although the two reports directly below were published before new Tax Credits were introduced, and are about the old Working Family Tax Credits, they are included here for continuity:

PAC 67th Report 2001-02 HTML
PAC 29th Report 2002-03 HTML

Links to the Public Accounts Committee reports regarding new Tax Credits are below. The main links will open a PDF version of the report, but there is also an option to view each report in HTML, which is browsable just like any website. The Treasury response to each PAC report can also be viewed.

PAC 14th Report 2003-04 HTML Treasury Response
PAC 5th Report 2005-06 HTML Treasury Response
PAC 37th Report 2005-06 HTML Treasury Response
PAC 22nd Report 2006-07 HTML Treasury Response
PAC 8th Report 2007-08 HTML Treasury Response

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Public Administration Select Committee Reports

The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) are a committee of eleven Members of Parliament, appointed by the House of Commons and drawn from the three largest political parties. The Committee examines the quality and standards of administration within the Civil Service and scrutinizes the reports of the Parliamentary Ombudsman. More information can be found on the PASC website.

See all documents published by the Public Administration Select Committee on The Parliament website.

The two reports below were produced in response to the Parliamentary Ombudsman's report 'Tax Credits: Putting Things Right' from 2005-06. The main links will open a PDF version of the report, but there is also an option to view each report in HTML, which is browsable just like any website.

PASC 2nd Report 2005-06
Tax Credits: Putting Things Right
HTML
PASC 4th Special Report 2005-06
Tax Credits: Putting Things Right: Government Response
HTML

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Tax Credit Consultation Group Meeting Minutes

The Tax Credit Consultation Group (TCCG) minutes can be found on the HMRC TCCG website Index and Archive. Although the first meeting minutes listed are for 17th January 2005, there were earlier meetings - but no minutes seem to be available for them.

For ease, all the available minutes from the Tax Credit Consultation Group meetings are linked below:

2008 2007 2006 2005
  14 Nov 2007 15 Nov 2006 16 Nov 2005
  26 Sep 2007 13 Sep 2006 22 Sep 2005
16 Oct 2008 17 Jul 2007 12 Jul 2006 13 Jul 2005
26 Jun 2008 16 May 2007 17 May 2006 11 May 2005
26 Mar 2008 07 Mar 2007 15 Mar 2006 17 Jan 2005
15 Jan 2008 17 Jan 2007 18 Jan 2006  

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The Tax Credit Act (2002)

This page just wouldn't be complete without including the offending legislation. It isn't known whether the version linked to here incorporates any amendments that have been issued since 2002.

The main link opens a PDF version, but there is also an option to view it in HTML, which can be browsed just like any website. The Explanatory Notes give a 'plain English' interpretation of the legislation.

Tax Credit Act 2002 HTML Explanatory Notes

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