Working Tax Credit Fraud Investigation £12,000+
Our client was under investigation by HMRC in connection with a suspected Working Tax Credit Fraud. HMRC alleged that our client was no longer working and so no longer entitled to the benefit or to the childminding costs she claimed. They said that they had evidence that the child had not been going to the childminder for over 18 months and that out client had diverted the benefit to herself. The total sum involved was over £12,000. To further complicate matters our clients partner, who was a high earning professional, had moved in with her.
HMRC requested extensive documentation for their enquiry including bank statements, payslips, childcare provider invoices and receipts.
Our client instructed us privately as soon as she received the HMRC request.On reviewing the evidence and circumstances we advised her that the best way forward was for us to comply with the HMRC requests on her behalf and at the same time make comprehensive representations as to why she should not be prosecuted as well as an offer to repay the overpayment. HMRC called within 4 weeks to say that in the light of our submissions and the offer of repayment they would not prosecute and once the balance was cleared the case would be closed.
Note: HMRC do seem to have a flexible policy on prosecution, taking the view that repayment recovers ther loss and avoids trhe substantial costs of investigation and prosecution. Tactical considerations are as important as the legal issues and with proper advice and representation it is often possible to divert the case from court although the client will have to make good the overpayment. Many of our clients facing these allegations are not eligible for legal aid. It need not break the bank to instruct solicitors privately as long as they are experts in the field and no the right tactical and legal steps to take.