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Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department is taking to recover tax credits overpaid to claimants from their estates after their decease, as referred to in the answer of 8 October 2007, Official Report, column 243W, on welfare tax credits: overpayments. (169509)

Where a customer has died, HMRC make every effort to obtain a voluntary settlement of any outstanding overpayment from their personal representative or executor. If there are no funds in the estate, or if HMRC are unable to identify the personal representative or executor, the overpayment is written off.

In cases where a household has broken down and one of the couple has since died, both customers remain jointly and severally liable in law for any outstanding overpayment. If there are no funds in the deceased estate HMRC attempt to recover the full overpayment from the surviving partner taking account of their personal circumstances and our hardship provisions. But, HMRC would seek to do so sensitively and may, for example, recover the overpayment over an extended period or use our discretion to recover less than the full amount in some cases if appropriate.