Tax Credits

Tax Credits

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This special report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman examines the administration of the Child and Working Tax Credits system, which was introduced in April 2003. The new system, which affects about six million families, is aimed at helping tackle child poverty and encouraging more people into work. The report considers the background to the introduction of the new system; design and delivery aspects; processing errors; communication and accessibility; overpayments; complaints and appeals; and wider tax credits issues. Although the project has been broadly successful given its scale of undertaking, the report focuses on cases of financial hardship caused as a result of the recovery of overpayments of tax credits, particularly for families on low incomes, the core group which the system is aimed at helping. Two key problems are highlighted relating to i) the system's design, based on annual awards with a degree of inbuilt financial uncertainty; and ii) its delivery, using a processing system that is wholly IT-based. The report makes 12 recommendations for actions to improve overpayment recovery processes, complaint handing and Revenue communications with customers, and to highlight key lessons that can be learned across government in the implementation of new policies and systems.Although excess tax credits payments and their recovery are an in-built element of new tax credits (see paragraph 2.11), it was always ... tax year when their award was reassessed and actual income in 2003-04 taken into account, they would have been paid too much. ... Working Tax Credit or receiving an amount of Child Tax Credit above the family element.32 It should be emphasised that these figuresanbsp;...

Title:Tax Credits
Author: Great Britain: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Publisher:The Stationery Office - 2005-01-01

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