I have asked them not to make me pay it back, but they still say I have to. What do I do?"
HMRC say that they will only look at second disputes if there is new evidence. If you have no new evidence, you should have a look at the next page to find out what you can do next.
The reason for sending another dispute is to tell HMRC why you do not agree with their reasons. For example, if HMRC write to you and say that you still have to pay back your overpayment because you didn't tell them of a change of circumstances, your second dispute should tell HMRC when you think you told them about the change and ask them to listen to the phone call/find a copy of the letter.
Follow the guidance on How to write a dispute letter showing you how to write a dispute letter. Between step 3 and 4 you should tell HMRC why you do not agree with their decision. If you have any new evidence, tell HMRC about it.
If you have no new evidence, but believe that HMRC have ignored evidence that you have already sent them, you should send a second dispute as well as a complaint. You should tell them what evidence they have ignored and why you think it is important. Explain that they should treat it as new evidence because it has not been looked at before.
There is no limit on the number of times you can send a dispute. However, normally HMRC will not change the decision unless you provide new evidence or you can show that they did not consider some evidence that they already had.
The first thing to do is read the letter you received from HMRC. The letter should contain some important information:
- A phone number for the person who made the decision
- The name of the person who made the decision
- A reason why HMRC think you should still have to pay the money back.
Sometimes, letters are missing some of this information. If yours is, you should make a complaint (see How to make a complaint) and follow the steps below.
The reasons that HMRC give are often confusing and hard to understand. Sometimes they even turn out to be wrong. Once you have read the reason:
- If you agree with the reason they give, and think that the decision is correct, HMRC will want the money to be paid back. If you are still getting tax credits on the same claim, they will automatically reduce your payments to pay back the overpayment. If HMRC have asked you for the money directly in the past, you should contact HMRC to arrange how to pay back the money (see Paying the overpayment). You should not ignore the overpayment as it could end up going to Court.
- If you do not agree with the reason they give, then you should have a look at the information on about sending a second dispute. This is very important if you did not know the reason for your overpayment when you sent your first dispute. You can now write a longer second dispute and explain why you think their decision is wrong.
- If you are unhappy with how HMRC have responded to you, then you can choose to send a complaint (see How to make a complaint). You can send a complaint as well as a second dispute if you want to.
"My dispute was turned down and I have no new evidence. What can I do now?"
If you still do not think you should have to pay back the money, you should write a complaint to HMRC. See How to write a dispute letter for how to do this.
You might also want to take your reply letter to an adviser to ask them to check that the explanation is correct and that there are no mistakes. See How to find an adviser.
After you have used the complaints system at HMRC, you can ask for your case to be looked at by the Adjudicator and later the Parliamentary Ombudsman. However, both of these independent people will only look to see if HMRC have followed their responsibilities and have not acted unreasonably. See Further help for contact details of the Adjudicator and Parliamentary Ombudsman.
Tax credits are very complicated, and it is no surprise that most claimants find it difficult to understand overpayments. There are lots of sources of help available. If are you are unsure, or would like someone to check your overpayment or help you with an appeal or dispute then get advice. See How to find an adviser.
Speak to your MP
Your local MP might be able to help you with your overpayment. This can be especially helpful in cases where you are not getting any responses from HMRC. See Further help for how to contact them.
Be aware! They will keep asking for the money
Normally, HMRC will not stop asking you to pay back your overpayment when you make a complaint. They will only stop when you send in an appeal or dispute. You might need to start making payments while you go through the complaints system. The next page explains how to do this.