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Tax Credit

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have been awarded consolatory payments in respect of tax credits by HM Revenue and Customs in each of the last five years; what the average size of consolatory payments for tax credit errors was in each of the last five years; what the amount paid for consolatory payments in respect of tax credits was in each of the last five years; on what basis consolatory payments were awarded in that period; and if he will make a statement. (245588)

The circumstances in which HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will make compensation payments to its customers are explained in the Department’s fact sheet C/FS ‘Complaints and Putting Things Right’ which is available at:

www.hmrc.gov.uk/factsheets/complaints-factsheet.pdf.

The Department will pay compensation for reasonable costs incurred as a direct result of any mistakes or delays and to recognise worry and distress caused.

For the number and value of compensation payments made by Tax Credit Office up to the end of 2007-08, I refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor gave the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 5 June 2008, Official Report, columns 1086-87W. Data for 2008-09 will be collated in due course.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases relating to tax credits the Adjudicator's Office has handled under the process assurance procedure in each year for which figures are available; how many of these cases were subsequently referred to the Parliamentary Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement. (245589)

The Adjudicator’s Office began working cases under the process assurance procedure during 2006-07. The Adjudicator’s Office closed 313 PA cases in 2006-07 and 982 in 2007-08. The Adjudicator’s Office ceased using this procedure for working tax credit cases in January 2008.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in how many cases related to tax credits and resolved since March 2008 the Adjudicator’s Office has recommended that (a) an overpayment be written off and (b) a consolatory payment be made. (245590)

From 1 April 2008, 575 tax credit cases have been settled with some or all of the overpayment being written off. There have been consolatory payments in 666 of all tax credit cases seen by the Adjudicator’s Office in the same period. The circumstances in which HM Revenue and Customs make compensation payment to its customers are explained in the Department’s fact sheet C/FS “Complaints and Putting Things Right” which is available at

www.hmrc.gov.uk/factsheets/complaints-factsheet.pdf.

The Department will pay compensation for reasonable costs incurred as a direct result of any mistakes or delays and to recognise worry and distress caused.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much in relation to tax credits cases the Adjudicator's Office has recommended that HM Revenue and Customs (a) pay in compensation to claimants, (b) forego in tax and interest and (c) write off in overpaid tax credits since March 2008. (245591)

From 1 April 2008 the Adjudicator’s Office recommended that HMRC pay £108,980 in compensation relating to tax credit claims, and recommended £1,532,272 of overpayment to be written off. Interest is not generally chargeable on tax credits cases. The Adjudicator’s Office has not made recommendations with regard to foregoing tax or interest in relation to a tax credit case.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases related to tax credits have been taken on by the Adjudicator’s Office since March 2008; and how many of these have been settled. (245592)

From 1 April 2008 the Adjudicator’s Office has taken on 1,106 tax credit cases and closed 984 tax credit cases. 220 of the tax credits cases closed were taken on this year.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff the Adjudicator's Office employed in each of the last five years; and how many of those worked on tax credit disputes. (245593)

There are currently 54 people working in the Adjudicator’s Office. At the end of each year there were; 46 people for 2007-08, 45 for 2006-07, 43 for 2005-06, 43 for 2004-05 and 47 for 2003-04. All staff spend some time working on tax credits complaints as well as on other complaints.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit cases taken on by the Adjudicator's Office related to complaints where overpayments had been made due to awards based on incorrect information in each of the last five years; and in how many of those cases the complaint was upheld. (245594)