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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

Payment - overpayments (A-C): Overpayments - certificate of debt (Info)

When an award is finalised, a Finalised Award Notice is sent to the customer. This will include information about whether the award was

  • overpaid
  • underpaid


  • balanced.

If the customer has an overpayment, but there isn’t a continuing award for that family, then the recovery method will be direct. This means that 30 days after the Finalised Award Notice has been issued, a form TC610 Notice to Pay will be issued to the customer requesting them to make the repayment within 30 days.

If the customer doesn’t pay the overpayment back, the computer will automatically send notification to Debt Management and Banking (DMB) to take recovery action on the amount due. There shouldn’t be any payments made to the family that haven’t been taken into account before the overpayment was referred to DMB.

The completion of a certificate of debt is only required by DMB where an overpayment hasn’t been paid and one is needed in order to proceed with enforcement action through the court. The Recovery Office will send the appropriate certificate to Tax Credit Office for completion and return.

A certificate is required where the Recovery Office

  • commence County Court Action and the customer enters a defence
  • commence Summary Proceedings in a Magistrates court for overpayments (debts) under £2,000.00.

By completing and signing the first part of the certificate, you’re confirming that the tax credits overpayment is valid and due.

The customer for whom the certificate of debt is being completed mustn’t have any further entitlement to tax credits for that family and award period.

You must confirm the original amount of the overpayment. The certificate must be signed by an Officer grade or higher.

You must complete the following details at part 1 of the certificate

  • Officer’s name
  • amount of the overpayment
  • the tax year ending that the overpayment relates to
  • customer’s name and address
  • Officer’s (or above) signature
  • date
  • Office name.

Note: An Officer or above must sign the certificate of debt. All other action can be undertaken by any grade.

You must check if the claim has an RLS marker set on the claim. If an RLS marker has been set on the claim, you must phone the Recovery Office and inform them of this.

You must also check that an outstanding appeal or outstanding dispute isn’t currently ongoing against the overpayment. If an appeal or dispute is ongoing, you must inform the Recovery Office of this also. They will tell you whether or not to complete and return the certificate.

You must record details on form TC648 of the overpayment and whether an appeal or dispute has been logged on the claim. You must also record on the computer the details of the action you’ve taken.

Once all the checks have been made and the certificate has been completed, you must return the certificate by Taxpost Direct to the Recovery Office that sent you the certificate before the court deadline or the date specified by the Recovery Office.

In cases where DMB are commencing County Court proceedings, you’ll receive a request for an explanation of how the overpayment occurred from DMB as well as the Certificate of Debt to complete. You will need to follow the guidance in TCM0224180.

There is an Action Guide for this subject, select TCM0224240 to access it