Benefits Owl is a member of          Addventures logo
‘Can you explain tax credits to me?’
> ‘I want to know what to do if I have problems with overpayments of tax credits’
>> 'I disagree with the Tax Credit Office my entitlement has changed?'

As I said before, You can’t appeal against the decision telling you that there is an overpayment: however you can appeal the decision that reduced the amount you were entitled to.

One possible example is that they reduce your Child Tax Credit because they say that you are now only responsible for 2 children when you were previously responsible for 3, and you know that you are definitely still responsible for 3: this can happen when a child goes on to do A levels, for example.

In a nutshell, the procedure works like this: This is the procedure in more detail.

Stage 1: Ask the Tax Credit Office for a mandatory reconsideration

To request a mandatory reconsideration, you should use the form WTC/AP, which is available from here:

When you come to give your reasons for appealing make it simple and clear. DO tell them why you think their decisions are wrong.
icon-warning1.jpg Make sure your request for a mandatory reconsideration reaches the Tax Credit Office by the deadline. This deadline is 30 days (not a calendar month) from the date the decision was sent to you. 

If you miss this deadline, the Tax Credit Office may accept your appeal, provided it is less than 13 months since the decision was made, and their are good reasons for the delay. The longer the delay is, the better the reasons will have to be.

Stage 2: Wait for the Tax Credit Office Plus to look at your request

How long will this take? Unfortunately the law just says that they must do this 'as soon as is reasonably practicable'.

icon-key1.jpgThey may write to you asking you to give further reasons and evidence for your case. If you want to respond and have more evidence by all means give it to them, but don’t feel obliged to. Don’t agree to settle if you haven’t got what you want!

If you don't agree to settle, or don't provide documents they ask for, they have to send you a response to your reconsideration request, which then gives you the right to take your appeal to an independent tribunal.

Remember that even if the Tax Credit Office thinks that you must give it written evidence of something for it to change its mind, a tribunal might not agree.

When the Tax Credit Office has finished its work it will write to you to tell you what it has decided. It could:
  1. Change its decision to one you agree with;
  2. Leave its previous decision unchanged;
  3. Change its decision to one you are partly happy with, but partly disagree with.

Unless the Tax Credit Office changes its decision to one entirely in your favour, you will now need to make your appeal.

Stage 3: Appealing to Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunals Service

You now need to appeal directly to Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunals Service, or the Tribunal Service for short.

icon-warning1.jpgAt Section 6 of the appeal form it asks whether you want to attend a hearing of your case: you generally have better chance of success if you attend your hearing

icon-warning1.jpg Make sure your appeal form reaches the Tribunal Service by the deadline. This deadline is one month from the date the Tax Credit Office sends you its response to your request for a reconsideration . So if the date on the Tax Credit Office letter is 1st May you should make sure your appeal reaches them before 1st June.  Sometimes your request can be accepted even though it was late. Click here for more information about this.

When the Tribunal Service receives your appeal it will ask the Tax Credit Office for all the papers relating to the case. At some point a copy of these papers will be sent to you. This is called your appeal bundle.

icon-warning1.jpgDon’t lose your appeal bundle. Don’t get the pages out of order.

Stage 4: Prepare for the appeal hearing, wait for an appeal date, and attend the hearing

This is a special subject in its own right, and so deserves its own set of pages: click here to be taken to them…