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Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments

Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many individual cases of tax credit overpayment reclamation his Department has taken to court in (a) each year from 2006-07 and (b) each month of 2008-09 for which information is available; and what the average overpayment was. (249233)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) initiates court action only as a last resort. HMRC initiated 467 and 365 court actions for the recovery of tax credit overpayments through county court (England and Wales)1, sheriffs court (Scotland) and magistrates court (Northern Ireland) in November and December 2008 respectively.

For information on earlier months and years, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Cardiff, Central (Jenny Willott) on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1926W.

Information on the total number of overpaid awards, and the aggregate amount overpaid, in 2006-07 is provided in the main aggregates table in the HMRC publication “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Finalised Annual Awards. Supplement on Payments 2006-07”. This publication is available on the HMRC website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-quarterly-stats.htm

Information on overpayments in 2007-08 is not yet available.

1 For England and Wales, these figures relate only to actions commenced centrally and exclude actions commenced by local HMRC debt pursuit offices where it is not possible to readily disaggregate tax credit cases from the total number of local initiated court actions.