Tax credits fraud – Newcastle
A new campaign has been launched by HMRC to reduce tax credits error and fraud in Newcastle. The campaign was launched on 17 March and HMRC is using local radio and newspaper adverts to raise awareness of the issue.
The adverts highlight changes in circumstances that must be reported to HMRC to avoid a tax credit overpayment, penalty or a possible criminal prosecution. It is a taxpayer’s responsibility to notify HMRC of any changes in circumstances not already reported during the year, such as new working hours, different childcare costs or changes in pay.
Newcastle has around 95,000 claimants receiving tax credits, and of these over 54% are claims as a single person. As the national average for single person claims is around 35%, HMRC is reviewing claims in Newcastle to ensure they are up to date and correct.
Paul Gerrard, Director, Benefits and Credits Operations Group, HMRC, said:
‘It is the customer’s responsibility to tell HMRC about any change of circumstance that affects their tax credits entitlement, and we will work with customers to understand their correct circumstances and eligibility. We are reminding customers to contact us about any changes, such as moving in with a new partner, and to tell us now about any other undeclared changes in order to ensure they receive the correct payment.’
The average penalty charged by HMRC for someone who does not declare their partner on their application for tax credits or does not update their claim when their circumstances change is £2,000.