[holding answer 20 October 2006]: Tax credits helpline advisers have guidance that prompts them to explain to callers that, if they inaccurately estimate their income or delay giving details of any increase in their income, they may have to pay back any overpayment after the end of a year.
Tax credits award notices and accompanying guidance notes, together with the guidance notes that accompany claim forms all explain that changes in income can affect entitlement and encourage claimants to tell HM Revenue and Customs as soon as their income changes.
Advice is routinely given to Ministers and they are kept aware of any emerging issues. I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement I made to the House on 11 July 2006, Official Report, columns 1281-282 and also to my answer of 17 July 2006, Official Report, columns 161-162W.
Estimates for 2003-04 and 2004-05 of the numbers of in-work families with tax credits awards, including information on overpayments and underpayments, based on final family circumstances and incomes for 2003-04 and 2004-05 are published in "Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards 2003-04. Supplements on Payments in 2003-04." And the "Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards 2004-05. Supplements on Payments in 2004-05 ". These publications and provisional estimates for the number of in-work families with tax credit awards as at selected dates in 2005-06 are available on the HMRC website at:
The amount of overpayments recovered for 2003-04 and 2004-05 tax credit awards, as at April 2006, are provided in the Comptroller and Auditor General's Standard Report on the Accounts of the Inland Revenue 2005-06, which is available on the HMRC website at:
Figures for 2005-06 overpayments will not be available until the publication of the Comptroller and Auditor General's Standard Report on the Accounts of the H M Revenue and Customs 2006-07.
The cost of managing and paying the child and working tax credits in the financial year 2004-05 appear in note 3 to the Trust Statement in the Inland Revenue Annual Report and Accounts for 2004-05. The same costs for the financial year 2005-06 appear in note 3 to the Trust Statement in the Inland Revenue Annual Report and Accounts for 2005-06.
The number of tax credit awards that were ceased as a result of a couple reporting a separation in the quarters requested are as follows:
Quarter in which separation occurred Number of awards ceased as at 2 October 2006 (Thousand) (a) 6 April 2006 to 5 July 2006 32 (b) 6 July 2006 to 2 October 2006 33
Quarter in which separation occurred
Number of awards ceased as at 2 October 2006 (Thousand)
(a) 6 April 2006 to 5 July 2006
(b) 6 July 2006 to 2 October 2006