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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Payment - overpayments (Q-Z): overpayments - review disputed overpayments

Background

The customer may contact you in writing to request a review of a previous disputed overpayment decision (DOP).

From 1 June 2014, customers will have 30 days from the date of their DOP decision to request a review of the decision to recover their overpayment. Once the 30 day time limit has expired, Tax Credit Office (TCO) will not accept the request to review unless there are exceptional circumstances which prevented the customer from sending in the request, for example, they were in hospital.

The customer must provide you with new information to conduct a review. If they do not provide new information, you must notify the customer that we will not be able to review the decision without it. TCO will only review the case once. Where the customer has already had a review of the original decision and then requests a further review, TCO will only consider reviewing the decision again under specific circumstances.

Guidance

Step 1

Check the correspondence to see if it contains a Subject Access Request (SAR)

If there is a SAR

  • send a photocopy of the correspondence to the SAR team by fax 03000 571843
  • go to Step 2.

If there is not a SAR, go to Step 2.

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Step 2

Check correspondence for any indication of domestic violence.

If you have identified a risk of domestic violence

  • set the manual correspondence marker. For how to do this, use TCM1000063
  • action the household breakdown, if applicable. For how to do this, use TCM1000222
  • update retained domestic violence Household Note from TCM0154040. For how to do this, use TCM1000001
  • go to Step 3.

If you have not identified a risk of domestic violence, go to Step 3.

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Step 3

Access Household notes to check if the disputed overpayment decision (DOP) was made before1 June 2014, for how to do this use TCM1000067.

If the DOP decision was made before 1 June 2014, go to Step 4.

If the DOP decision was made after 1 June 2014, go to Step 5.

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Step 4

Access Household Notes to check if the customer has already had a review of the decision that they have mentioned in their correspondence, for how to do this use TCM1000067.

If the customer had a review before 1 June 2014

  • the customer can have one further review

Note: The review request will not be subject to the 30 day limit or the One Review limit. This is because the customer was not told about the 30 day limit or One Review limit in their DOP decision letter or their review letter.

If the customer had a review on or after 1 June 2014

  • complete SOP worksheet
  • send TC637 (Review out of time letter), telling the customer that we will not consider their review

Note: If an intermediary or Representative has written in on behalf of the customer and has authority to act on their behalf, you should send your letter to the nominated intermediary or Representative.

  • address any other issues the customer has mentioned
  • update Household Notes with the message OP24. For how to do this, use TCM1000001
  • prepare case papers for storage. For how to do this, use TCM0074140
  • pass the case to your manager for checking
  • take no further action.

If the customer has not had a review, go to Step 11.

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Step 5

Access Household Notes to check if the customer has already had a review of the decision that they have mentioned in their correspondence, for how to do this use TCM1000067.

Note: Where a customer has received an Out of Time Review letter they will not be treated as having a review because they did not make a request for one in time. There may be circumstances where a customer writes in again after receiving an Out of Time Review letter with exceptional circumstances for their delay.

If the customer had a review on or after 1 June 2014

  • complete SOP worksheet
  • Send TC637 (Review Out of Time letter), telling the customer that we will not consider their review

Note: If an intermediary or Representative has written in on behalf of the customer and has authority to act on their behalf, you should send your letter to the nominated intermediary or Representative.

  • address any other issues the customer has mentioned
  • update Household Notes with the message OP24. For how to do this, use TCM1000001
  • prepare case papers for storage. For how to do this, use TCM0074140
  • pass to your manager for checking
  • take no further action.

If the customer has not had a review, go to Step 6.

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Step 6

Check the date that the correspondence was received.

  • access Household Notes to check when the original DOP decision was made. For how to do this, use TCM1000067
  • make a note of the DOP decision date and the date the correspondence was received.

If the request to review was received within 30 days of the DOP decision, go to Step 11.

If the request to review was not received within 30 days of the DOP decision, go to Step 7.

Note: If the customer contacted helpline within the 30 day time limit, allow them four additional days to submit their request to review and if received, treat their request as in time.

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Step 7

Check if the overpayment has been caused by a household breakdown.

If the overpayment was caused by a late notification of a household breakdown and Notional Entitlement is applicable

  • complete SOP worksheet
  • issue a TC637 (Review Out of Time letter)

Note: When completing the TC637, ensure that you select the Notional Entitlement hand off paragraphs.

Note: If an intermediary or Representative has written in on behalf of the customer and has authority to act on their behalf, you should send your letter to the nominated intermediary or Representative.

  • address any other issues the customer has mentioned
  • suspend recovery of the overpayment. For how to do this, use TCM1000335
  • update Household Notes with message OP22 from TCM0166040. For how to do this, use TCM1000001
  • refer to the relevant Notional Entitlement team
  • take no further action.

If the overpayment was caused by a late notification of a household breakdown but Notional Entitlement is not applicable, go to Step 8.

If the overpayment was not caused by a late notification of a household breakdown, go to Step 8.

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Step 8

Check if the customer has indicated that there were exceptional circumstances that prevented them from requesting a review of their disputed overpayment within the 30 day time limit. COP26 explains that exceptional circumstances may mean that it was not possible for the customer to request a review on time, for example, they, or a close family member was, seriously ill and so could not dispute the recovery of their overpayment.

If there are no exceptional circumstances that prevented the customer from requesting a review within the 30 day time limit, go to Step 10.

If there are exceptional circumstances that prevented the customer from requesting a review within the 30 day time limit, go to Step 9.

Note: If a customer has already sent in a request for a review which we received outside of the 30 day time limit and they then send in a further request for a review that indicates that there were exceptional circumstances which prevented them from requesting a review on time, you will need to consider the exceptional circumstances for their delay.

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Step 9

Make a note of the exceptional circumstances the customer indicated prevented or delayed them from meeting their responsibilities on the Overpayment and exceptional circumstances worksheet (Word 64KB)

  • ensure the following parts of the ‘Overpayments and exceptional circumstances worksheet’
    • caseworker’s name and contact details
    • details of exceptional circumstances
    • details of the 30 day time limit
    • details of when the review request was received
  • discuss the exceptional circumstances with your line manager (Band O) who will consider the circumstances and decide whether the request to review is considered to be in time.

If your band O does not accept the exceptional circumstances, go to Step 10.

If your band O accepts the exceptional circumstances go to Step 11.

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Step 10

  • complete SOP worksheet
  • send TC637 (Review Our of Time letter) to the customer including the relevant Exceptional Circumstances paragraph and Hardship paragraph where appropriate

Note: if an intermediary or Representative has written in on behalf of the customer and has authority to act on their behalf, you should send your letter to the nominated intermediary or Representative.

  • address any other issues the customer has mentioned
  • update Household Notes with the relevant OP22 or OP23 message. For how to do this, use TCM1000001
  • prepare the case papers for storage. For how to do this, use TCM0074140
  • pass the case papers to your manager for checking
  • take no further action.

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Step 11

Check Household Notes for Compliance activity for the tax year being reviewed, for how to do this use TCM1000067.

If there is Compliance interest, go to Step 13.

If there is no Compliance interest, go to Step 12.

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Step 12

Check whether the customer has provided new information for us to review our decision or has told us that they do not feel that we have considered previous information that they have provided.

Note: The customer must be specific about the information that they feel we have not considered, for example, the customer sent us a birth certificate to include their child on the award but we did not use this information.

If the customer has not provided new information or does not tell us that we have not considered previous information that they have provided

  • complete SOP worksheet
  • send TC637 (Review of Time letter), telling the customer that we cannot review the decision because we have no new information

Note: If an intermediary or Representative has written in on behalf of the customer and has authority to act on their behalf, you should send your letter to the nominated intermediary or Representative.

  • address any other issues the customer has mentioned
  • update Household Notes with the message OP01. For how to do this, use TCM1000001
  • prepare the case papers for storage, For how to do this, use TCM0074140
  • pass case papers to your manager for checking
  • take no further action.

If the customer has provided new evidence or tells us that we have not considered previous information that they have provided

  • determine the reason for the overpayment. Follow the guidance in TCM0224120
  • consider the new evidence
  • recall the case papers if required. For how to do this, use TCM0074060

Note: In cases where you are unable to obtain the case papers you will need to treat the review as a new dispute and follow the guidance in TCM0224120.

  • Check CMA call logs if requested
  • review the case
  • go to Step 14.

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Step 13

Check with the relevant Compliance Officer if they are happy for you to proceed with the review.

If the Compliance Officer wants you to proceed with the review, go to Step 12.

If the Compliance Officer does not want you to proceed with the review

  • update SOP worksheet
  • send case papers to the Compliance Officer
  • update Household Notes with the message OP05. For how to do this, use TCM1000001
  • take no further action.

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Step 14

Complete the SOP worksheet with your decision

If you have not changed the original decision

  • update Household Notes with the message OP02. For how to do this, use TCM1000001
  • send decision letter to the customer

Note: If an intermediary or Representative has written in on behalf of the customer and has authority to act on their behalf, you should send your letter to the nominated intermediary or Representative.

Note: In joint household claims, issue one letter addressed to both customers.

Note: Where the household has broken down and the decision has not changed, issue one letter to the customer that requested the review.

  • prepare case papers for storage, for how to do this use TCM0074140
  • pass the case papers to your manager for checking
  • take no further action.

If you have changed the original decision

  • update Household Notes with the message OP08. For how to do this, use TCM1000001
  • determine the amount to be remitted. For how to do this, follow the guidance in TCM0224120
  • update the SOP worksheet
  • pass to your manager for checking
  • remit the determined amount of the overpayment. For how to do this, use TCM0230060
  • complete the remissions data base
  • send decision letter to customer

Note: If an intermediary or Representative has written in on behalf of the customer and has authority to act on their behalf, you should send your letter to the nominated intermediary or Representative.

Note: In joint household claims, issue one letter addressed to both customers.

Note: Where the household has broken down and the overpayment position has changed, a separate letter must be issued to each customer. The letter to the customer who has not written in must only give the overpayment decision and not give answers to other issues.

  • send case papers to storage. For how to do this, use TCM0224120
  • take no further action.