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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 April, 2003, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Tax credit delay infuriates parent

By Sarah Toyne
BBC News Online personal finance reporter

Ted Duggan
Ted Duggan: "I think they have messed up big time"
Nine out of 10 families with children are supposed to benefit from the new flagship tax credits - at least that is what the government is promising.

The new tax credits - the Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit - were introduced in April.

They have replaced three existing tax credits which were available to parents with children and disabled people.

But there appears to be a backlog at the Inland Revenue, which is causing worry for many parents around the country, including Ted Duggan, 49, from Coventry.

The father-of-two used to receive 127 a week under the old system.

But Mr Duggan says he has had big problems getting through to the Revenue's helpline, and is unsure about when he will be paid the new tax credit.

The cash is vital for his family, as Mr Duggan is bringing up two small children, aged seven and nine, on his own.

His wife died of leukaemia three years ago.

Mr Duggan receives a widower's pension, and tops up his income with part-time work as a music teacher, which brings in about 60 a week at most.

This means the money he receives from the government is a big part of his family's weekly income - and they cannot do without it.

Easter holidays

For this reason, he says he applied for the new tax credits well in advance - and double-checked with the Revenue that it had received his application one month ago.

"When I called, the woman said, 'Yes, we have got your details - everything is fine.' But it turns out my forms haven't been processed."

It was only recently that Mr Duggan knew something was wrong when he received a letter from his council, which led him to believe his tax credits had not been processed.

You would have thought they could have put a notification on the website that they were having problems
Ted Duggan

"It is very annoying, my children are on holiday. I can't work very much because I need to look after them. It hasn't been easy since my wife died. What with this pressure on us, we do not need it."

The Revenue has said people who have not yet received their money, can get an emergency interim payment from their local tax office.

Growing anger

But when Mr Duggan contacted his office, they said he could not receive an emergency payment, because he had not yet received a notification. He now doesn't know which way to turn.

"I think they have messed up big time. Something has gone wrong and it is unacceptable considering how long they have had to get this system up and running.

"What do I do while they sort things out?" he asks. "Do I sign on? What will happen to back payments?"

The Revenue has taken on 700 extra staff to work on the helpline, but Mr Duggan is sceptical.

"I do not think they have got time to investigate each person who is phoning up. They said they would get back to me on Tuesday, so I am waiting for their call."

Mr Duggan is upset with the Revenue.

"At the least, you would have thought they could have put a notification on the website that they were having problems."

The Revenue said there was a "vast amount of speculation going on" - and it would not comment on speculation.

A spokesman said people who had received their award notices prior to 31 January, and who opted for four weekly payments should receive their payments by 2 May.

Your comments:

What about interest on the money 'borrowed' by the govt? Not only are they getting more due to the change in my tax code, they're not replacing it with the money it was supposed to be replaced with. That's loan-sharking.
steve , UK

Would we tolerate it if a commercial company, say a bank, made such a mess of delivering its service that it causes financial hardship, debt and stress to its consumers. I think not. So why do we allow the Inland Revenue to continue to make a mess of its implemetation of the Tax Credit system ? Write to your MP, get questions asked in the House of Commons, demand an enquiry into this fiasco. Ever had to pay interest to the Inland Revenue when settling your tax bill. Surely the Inland Revenue will pay interest on late payments of Tax Credit !
Jef Dijkman, England

I applied online in February just after the birth of my 2nd child as I thought there might be confusion if I applied for the standard rate and then re-applied for the "enhanced" rate for those of us with a child under 12 months later on. Surprisingly enough, I received my 20.00 a week directly into my bank account with no problem at all. Having read all the other comments here, I must be one of the few lucky ones. Tony, Kent.
Tony, England

It's a disgrace people who very much depend on this money have to suffer for the goverment's incompetence
Karen, England
I have also been trying for nearly two weeks to speak to someone, I was unable to pay some bills, I am really getting worried now,being on your own with two kids is hard enough, as a lot of people will know. they have to sort this out NOW!
Wilma Cameron, Scotland

I completed my form back in October, couple of weeks later received a letter confirming they had received it and award notice would be sent at the start of January. I still haven't received it. Called the IR helpline after constantly being cut off and pressing redial finally got through to speak to someone who said to check with the bank to see if the payments had gone in. Appalling set up they can't tell you on the phone what you will get unless you can tell them what you put on the form, can't tell you when the award notice will be sent out and can't tell you when you will be paid it. It's a disgrace people who very much depend on this money have to suffer for the goverments incompetence.
Karen, England

I got notification of how much we would receive, but my income is now lower than that used to calculate the amount. I called the helpline (and got through!) I gave them the new information and what my new salary is and following the call they said the new information had been recorded, so I just expected a revised notice. Lo and behold, last week my husband got a new application form to fill in. What is going on?
Shirley, Bromley, England

The helpline is always busy, what's going on?
Heath, West Yorkshire

I have also experienced problems with WFTC, reciving a letter indicating when money would be put into the bank but come the day, no money. Although I must say we had no problems getting through and the person on the other end was very helpful. However, there is no talk of refunding bank charges for being overdrawn in the meantime, with a young baby, we don't need this type of financial pressure.
Ross MacIntyre, Scottland

Two years ago they helped me get back to work now I feel I may be in a worse situation
Amanda, England
The customer help line is useless. They don't have the facilities to help you! You wait half an hour to get through (if your lucky) only to be told that they can't check anything and it appears that no one can help you because when I asked to speak to someone who can help I was told there was no such person or department!
Andrew, Wales

I applied for the new tax credit in November and have been claiming for the last two years while I have been working. I'm a single parent and only earn 154.00 a week yet my childcare costs are 95 which I have had help with. Without this help it leaves me only 60 a week to look after my daughter and pay for all the bills. The way my old payments work out I was due one last week as I only got 250.00 on last months pay which doesnt even cover my childcare costs. Now I am overdrawn on the bank through direct debits and simply cannot afford the childcare costs aswell as my other costs. Whenever I try to ring it is always engaged and I know I'm not alone as a friend who works for a telephone company has been inundated with phonecalls from worried parents like myself to see if there is a fault on the line. If this continues and I still do not receive any correspondence from the Inland Revenue I may be forced to leave work and what do I do then as I have not got anyone to help and the benefits will not pay my mortgage. Two years ago they helped me get back to work now I feel I may be in a worse situation as I have now bought my own house and do not want to give up my job.
AMANDA , England

I've been trying to ring for about 5 weeks. Never got through to a person.
Dave Pashby, UK

I too am experiencing major problems. We haven't received our award notification and no money. We are now overdrawn on our bank account and it has put us in financially difficulty, not to mention all the stress and worry it has caused. The phone lines are jammed and even if I get through there is no information. I am appalled at the way in which the whole thing has been handled. If the old system was in place - there wouldn't be this problem. People depend on this money - by saying we will hear from them eventually (the date of which keeps getting put further and further back) is simply not good enough. Families are suffering because of this.
Marie Hemsley, England

The Government could have spent some money on processing the forms more quickly instead of a fancy advertising campaign
Ian, Scotland
I am not surprised that Ted is having problems. I applied in January as we already received WFTC and were reasonably sure we would still be entitled to help under the new system. I phoned at the beginning of March and was assured my application was on the system and was just awaiting the results of the benefit calculations. I phoned again on March 31st and was told that notices were coming out that week and not to worry. I still have not had the notification and cannot get through to the helpline despite trying regularly. Indeed I cannot even get into the waiting queue to find out what is happening. If we do not hear in a few days we will be in the same position as many others with bills to pay and no money. The revenue were quite happy to change my tax code months ago to reflect the child credit going to my wife but they don't seem to want to pay this money either. The system means we are powerless unless we are lucky enough to get through to the helpline, but a friend of ours had to wait one hour 10 minutes on Sunday evening to speak to someone even when they had got into the queue! What a complete shambles... and then we will all have to fill out further forms by July to confirm this year's income? I can't see that going any smoother, why can't they just leave the old system alone and adjust the benefit amounts? At least that worked.
David Mayer, UK

I can certainly echo Mr Duggans comments in your article. Both my wife and I have tried to contact the Inland Revenue at various times of the day in connection with the new tax credit without any success. This led us to believe (and now seemingly rightly so) that there was a problem in processing the applications. Not withstanding this fact if you believe the press and opposition parties, only one in about three people eligible have actually applied for the new tax credit. The process seems bad enough now, heaven knows how bad it would have been (is yet to be?) if the remaining two thirds of eligible people decide to apply.
Disgruntled voter, England

I got through after three days trying and was told I was likely to be paid before I received notification. However, I was also told my claim has still not been processed yet, and I applied early Jan!
Dave, Bristol, U.K

I applied online last September. Everyting went smoothly, but last weekend I received notification for the Inland Revenue with a new set of forms to fill in... Why should my child have to suffer?
LS, England

I was sent an acknowldgement of my claim form last November and since then nothing. It's virtually impossible to get through to the helpline and when you do they just take your details and promise to get the Inland Revenue to call you back - which they never do.
Stephen Jones, UK

I sympathise with Mr Duggan - whilst I have received my confirmation a few days later I received another application form! It does make you wonder how well organised this process is when it means so much to so many.
Mike Morgan, UK

The whole system is a mess. I applied for the new tax credits weeks ago and haven't even got an acknowledgement of the receipt of the completed form. On the other hand, I applied for Child Benefit at the same time and the application was processed very quickly. The Government could have spent some money on processing the forms more quickly instead of a fancy advertising campaign.
Ian, Scotland

I applied online on 9th Jan. No official confirmation to date of any payments due even though have chased since March. IR helpline just hangs up on you now! The fact that my tax return wasn't delayed gives you a clue to where their priorities are...
martin, UK

Five days spent trying to get through to the"so-called helpline" totally without success. Always engaged. I sent all the completed forms back ages ago and also contacted the IR in February to notify my new circumstances, i.e. loss of my income. They advised I would receive a updated award notice with my current details, so I thought fine. But no my award notice does not show any updated details and I cannot contact them to rectify this, what on earth is going on? Under WFTC I was receiving 83.00 a week now I have been awarded nill!! due to the fact I was working during 2001-2! We are at our wits end!
Mr John Linforth, UK

Thank you for reporting about the new tax credit delay! At least now I know I'm not alone in this. Have the Inland Revenue forgotten that they have already altered people's tax codes, so there will be less pay this month? Families can get in real financial trouble if this is not sorted soon!
Rani Beaton, Scotland

I originally applied back in November after the birth of my first child. At the time I had to inform the revenue of my salary and my wifes salary for the 2001-2002 tax year. At the start if March I received an award notice saying I would get nothing, but as my wife is not working anymore we are eligible for tax credit. I called the IR helpline and told them my wife was not working, and they informed me I would receive a new award notice within 2 weeks. 6 weeks later nothing has appear other than a new blank Tax credit form! I have since tried to call the IR, but it's impossible to get through. What ever time of day I try and Call the Tax Credits help line I get the engaged tone. It's crazy! I dread to think what would have happened if everyone eligible for tax credit had applied!
Matthew Bailey, England

Being of anxious nature my wife and I filled in our application in November. After numerous problems with the online application we reverted back to the paper copy which we duly sent. We received acknowledgement of receipt two weeks later, got contacted by phone three weeks later about further questions, and were told then that everything was fine and that the application would be processed soon. Come Mid-march we received an application form to fill-in!!!! I contacted them and they told me to ignore the latest form, that it was a computer error and that thousands of forms had been sent to people (I daren't think how much money is being wasted). To date I still haven't received any notification. It's extremely difficult to get through on their helpline number and when you eventually do, people from the Inland Revenue can not actually check any of your details whilst you are on the phone to them, all they do is re-iterate explanations of delays. My wife and I still don't know where we stand with regards to the new tax credits.
Mr E Jean, UK

I got a cheque for 1.49 - thanks a million Tony.
Dave Thompson, UK

Like LS, I applied online and wondered what had happened as my tax code has now been changed. This week I received set of forms to fill in. The IR is obviously not used to giving money out to people. What was wrong with the old system? If it ain't broken don't fix it.
Lin, UK

This whole system has turned into a farce yet the governement are refusing to acknowledge it publicly. My partner applied for the new credits in November, having received WFTC for over a year previous to that. In February she received an awards notice claiming she earned 0 in the previous year, giving her more money than she could ever have thought, but being honest she rang them to tell them of their error-big mistake! As a result of their mistake she was told her claim date was now in February and not November, and since then despite constant phonecalls she has received no awards notice and more importantly NO MONEY. This comes despite assurances by telephone that her weekly payment would be received during the last week (although on several diff dates!) by numerous different people yet instead because of government incompetence she is left with nothing and phone lines which are impossible to breach! Brilliant Mr Brown, just brilliant.
as, n.ireland

I can agree with all the people that have written already. I still have not recieved my award notice and am also waiting for back pay from my WFTC as i recently had another baby at the turn of the year which means that i am getting into debt. I also have been told that i wont get any money from the new WTC until the end of April, but my last payment from the WFTC was on April 1st, so what are my kids supposed to do for food and how am i supposed to pay for my childcare ??? Any suggestions tony, let me know !!!!!
Rachel, UK

The worrying thing is the people that need this money quickly. There is no way to work out who has greatest need in advance therefore people like Ted will suffer most.
Tony O'Connell, uk

I can only sympathise with people like Mr Duggan who are most severely affected by this idiotic new system. As a working, divorced father of two who looks after two teenagers for 50% of the time, I am a lot worse off under the new system. My main issues with the new system are as follows: the onus is now on the parent to claim the tax benefit, and to navigate their way through a maze of forms and procedures, with only an understaffed and helpline by way of assistance. Surely the Government must understand that the more dificult it is to claim something, the less people will claim it. Secondly, the new benefit can only be claimed by one parent, and not shared. This callously disregards all separated parents who have their children half the time. Thirdly, the claim form states that the benefit will be given to the person who looks after the kids most "usually the mother". where is the impartiality in this? I believe that effectively linking the claim to household income is means testing to an unfair degree, and that the government should come clean about its motives for changing the system, or change it back to how it was.
Clive Heys, uk

Until 2002-3, I could get the childrens tax credit at the end of the tax year just by ticking a box on my tax return. This year I have to fill in a whole new complex form in advance or else, I am informed, I won't get it. Progress? Please go back to the old system!
Glen Carty, UK

Why was it necessary to introduce this new system, no doubt at great expense ? If 9/10 people are eligible for the Child Tax Credit, why not just increase child benefit ? Money could be recovered from high earners by introduction of higher income tax if necessary. My family will really feel the pinch this summer is this payment is delayed, especially with much higher council tax to pay as well.
Colin, UK

This whole business of working tax credit is a bug joke. Firstly, I sent in my application just after Christmas, I contacted them at the end of February and they said they were processing my claim. For the past two weeks I have been unable to get through to their helpline...things are becoming quite desperate now, as I received no award letter or any money and being a single mum I need to pay a childminder whilst I work! Talk about forcing people back onto benefits!
Nicky Williams, uk

Oh dear what a complete mess. I applied online last October, got an acknowledgement (on-line), received a phone call about a month ago from the IR, query cleared up, then approx two weeks ago received...new set of forms! Why? As with everyone else, I have been unable to get through to the "help line" due to the "high demand". So, l also don't know if we will get Mr Browns wonderful tax credit this month.
Derrick Neale, Woking, UK

I applied online for Tax Credits in the middle of December last year and as yet haven't even had a single letter from them telling me anything. I have called several times after trying for hours on end to get through and been told yes we have got your application and award notices are being sent out. This is disgraceful! I used to get WFT with no problems whatsoever!
Fazal Aslam, Rochdale, UK

What a nightmare this has all been? I too applied online and did infact receive my award notice but was incorrect so phoned the helpline as soon as I received it and was told that's okay we will just amend it for you and send you new award well I waited and waited kept trying to phone helpline pressed number 3 to speak to advisor to be told that advisors busy and would be cut off! That is if and when i could get through. Eventually I did get through to a very stressed advisor who said they could not help and just to wait for reward in post. On Saturday just gone a letter from tax credits arrived thank goodness, but it was only a new set of forms to complete. Useless. With the old system it was so easy. I am a single parent who needs this money to survive from month to month but no-one seems to worry about this. I am just waiting now to see if my money will go into my account on the 27th April. I do doubt it very much.
Mandy, Hants UK

I completed the tax credit forms and sent them in a few months ago. Since then I have had a number of reminders that I haven't submitted the new forms. These reminders - and the original forms - were addressed to me in my maiden name. As I've been married for 8 years I was quite surprised by this, but figured that my NI number would show I was one and the same person. I've tried ringing the helpline on a number of occasions at different times of the day, to check that everything's going through, and have failed to get through to anyone. I haven't received any notification from the Inland Revenue, other than to tell me that my tax code has been amended. How are we supposed to sort out problems or check the status of an application, when it's impossible to contact anyone?
LB, UK

I applied back in October 2002, received ackwoledgement in October 2002, then last weekend got a set of new forms in the post, eventually got through the helpline and was told my original application is in the process. The whole system is a joke, why change it in the first place, they have reduced my Tax Code so I get 42 a month less, then get me to fill out a load of forms to give me 42 a month back it's a joke.
Tim, UK

I totally disagree - I put my claim in about 2 months before the end of March as I was already in receipt of WFTC. I have already been receiving my payments for the new Childs Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit!
Stacey Falconer, England

Forms were sent in months ago , so there is no reason wht the benefits, should be late.
Paul Krol, scotland

I applied online last October, but did not receive the promised notification. Instead, I've received a further two application forms, and when you try and phone the Helpline you get a recorded message saying this number is experiencing very heavy traffic, please try later. And guess what message you get when you try again later!
Kevin, England

I have just found out that I will earn 95 less each month starting this month due to my changed tax code. However, I have still heard nothing about the new Child Tax Credit money that my wife should be awarded under the new system.
Matthew Harffy, UK

It is an absoulute disgrace. My wife had to change her details because she was made redundant and was forced to take a lower paid job. The phone line was permanently busy and the only time she could get through was when the computer system was down. She has been trying for months to get the extra money we are entitled to. Is this a clever ploy to stop people claiming I wonder?
Neil, UK

Because the tax credits were not paid to us this week it has caused our overdraft to go over our limit, so not only do the bank not pay our direct debits, but they have charged us 70 for the privelege. So because the government have really messed up with this, we have no money for Easter, and the bank gets 70 - it's the banks that are going to win here, again! It's very worrying and I have had to cancel ALL my direct debits. I'm not pleased.
David, UK

I applied online in November 2002 for the new child tax credit. Ive heard nothing. I can't get through to the helpline, although they did say in march they had my application. I'm a widow, and I receive a small monthly pension from my late husbands firm and bereavement allowance - the extra would really help us! So much for Mr Brown's new tax credit.
Nicky Jarrett, england

I too am having problems. I filled in a form last November and have not received a notification. Last week a new blank claim form came through the post. Repeated calls to the helpline have only resulted in tones or messages indicating that the line is busy. It is interesting that in the mean time the I. R. have managed to change my tax code without a hitch!
Derek Porter, UK

What was wrong with the old system? it appeared to work well so why does Mr Brown think it necessary to turn things on their head. I don't think "the powers that be" realise how reliant some families are on this extra help.The staff at this IR are always very helpful and effidient but I too have been unable to get through and cannot afford to run up a big phone bill trying - I just hope it is sorted out very soon.
JF, Birmingham, England

I am currently listening to "Let it be" on the tax credit help line. Whether this is a request from the Inland Revenue I haven't yet worked out. This is the 4th time I have tried to get an answer regarding the reward. My form was sent in during January. We had a letter to say they had not received the form and could I make a request for a new one. Since this puzzled me I rang up and was told that there was a section they were having trouble with. I managed to sort this out over the phone and was told we would receive an award letter by return. Three weeks later I am still waiting. The advice given during the last three phone calls was to phone back later, or I can't get to that information from my screen. I have now been listening to, Vivaldi, The Beatles (let it be), Robbie Williams & Enya. Interspersed with the message "We are currently experiencing high call volumes...." Whilst I simpathise with the people on the end of the phone, a thorough investigation into what has gone wrong is needed and processes put in place that this type of problem does not occur again. Why I should think that is likely when any changes to NI or Tax system has always met with problems. Regards Andrew
Andrew Ogley, England

Why do they do this? Empire Building? Jobs For The Boys? Why not just cut effective taxation by cutting VAT and raising income tax thresholds to realistic levels, leaving the money in peoples pay packets so they do not need this "credit", and pay a benefit only to those who actually need it? Of course, the politicians expect us to be GRATEFUL for this "credit", and to vote them in again. Well maybe the british public are that stupid. I'm not.
Mark, Wales

I applied for CTC online in February. I then received a phone call in late March asking for further infomation - which I passed on. I was advised that my notification would be in the post within 2 weeks - I received another form to fill in a week ago! - I have tried to contact the IR since receiving the forms - but have yet to get through.
Jayne Wragg, UK

It's the banks that are winning here and I sympathise with Marie when she says she is overdrawn, as this has caused our family to go over our overdraft limit, I now have to cancel all my direct debits. On top of that the bank has charged me fees amounting to just over a hundred pounds for returned direct debits, etc. I never had ANY problems with the old WFTC so why should our families have to suffer now? Another great British cock-up!
Damian, UK

I applied online in October last year, as I thought the earlier I'd apply the quicker I'd get notification. I'd called up the office numerous times to check on the progress and was told the only thing missing was a signature, as it was an online application but they would send me something to sign & it would be processed soon after. Still nothing..I have been trying to call for at least three weeks now but I always get a dead tone! My sister applied in february and had recieved her award letter & was told when the 1st payment would be made, this date has long gone & she is also in a dilemma about what to do next? My tax code has changed so my wages when I get them next week will no way be enough to cover all my bills let alone all my childcare fees! As it is also half term how are people supposed to cope with payments for play schemes during the holidays. It is Not acceptable.. .
Janet, UK

I was due to get a payment today but didnt get one I'm now worred that I might not get one soon or that they havent recieved my application. I've tried all week to get intouch with them but had no luck
suzanne wcater, scotland

ABSOLUTLEY DISGUSTING FOR THOSE MORE NEEDY FAMILIES HAVING TO WAIT FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME GETTING FURTHER INTO DEBT WITH NO ANSWER AS TO WHEN IT MAY ARRIVE
S, WILKINSON, WILTSHIRE

I applied in October 2002 for the new system. The old credits ran out four weeks ago. I have heard nothing fom the IR and have had no notification. How can you claim an emergency payment without this. I have tried for four days in a row, all day long, to contact the so called helpline. All I get is an engaged tone?
Helen Harris, England

I have been receiving very efficiently 'low income family tax credit' for the last 3 years...in fact it doubles my wages as a school science technician...meaning that I can support myself and my two children. I applied for the new credits in October..and have heard nothing..I have been unable to speak to anyone on the help line...if you can get a line then after hanging on for 30minutes..it says that the building has had to be evacuated and the line goes dead!I am now extremely concerned about what will happen to me..and by the sounds of it I am by no means the only one!.. My circumstances have not changed in any way..so I find it hard to understand..as an existing 'customer' aaagh!! nothing to say really..just wanted to get it off my chest!
Dina Adkins, england

Tried to get through, only to be greeted by a pre-recorded message then cut off. Eventually got through to a human voice and was told the system was down try the following day, did so, managed to get a human voice and was told someone would phone back within 48 hours, that was 2 weeks ago and no phone call!!
Lesley, Scotland

WHY DID THE GOVERNMENT HAVE TO CHANGE THINGS?
JAYNE WILLIAMS, WALES

I have also experienced problems with credit receiving a letter indicating when money would be put into the bank but come the day, no money. Although I must say we had no problems getting through and the person on the other end was very helpful. Jowever there is no talk of refunding bank charges for being overdrawn in the meantime, with a young baby, we don't need this type of financial pressure.
Ross MacIntyre, Scottland

In short, a disgrace!
David Price, England

The helpline is always busy, what's going on?
Heath, West Yorkshire

I got notification of how much we would receive, but my income is now lower than that used to calculate the amount. I called the helpline (and got through!) I gave them the new information and what my new salary is and following the call they said the new information had been recorded, so I just expected a revised notice. Lo and behold, last week my husband got a new application form to fill in. What is going on?
Shirley, Bromley, England

It's a disgrace people who very much depend on this money have to suffer for the goverments incompetence.
Karen, England

I have also been trying for nearly 2 weeks to speak to someone, i was unable to pay some bills, i am realy getting worried now,being on your own with 2 kids is hard enough, as a lot of people will know. they have to sort this out NOW!
Wilma Cameron, Scotland

I applied just before January and received and were contacted a month later with a query. Nothing since. No notification. My circumstances changed 18 months ago meaning I have a much lower salary now. My working families tax credit was based on what i earn now, but the new tax credit is based on what i earned over a year ago. I have still not managed to get though to the helpline. I have received a payment in my bank account (but no indication where it came from) but it was 18 - my working families tax credit used to be 180. My income has just dropped 40%.
Dave, Cornwall

Would we tolerate it if a commercial company, say a bank, made such a mess of delivering its service that it causes financial hardship, debt and stress to its consumers. I think not. So why do we allow the Inland Revenue to continue to make a mess of its implemetation of the Tax Credit system ? Write to your MP, get questions asked in the House of Commons, demand an enquiry into this fiasco. Ever had to pay interest to the Inland Revenue when settling your tax bill. Surely the Inland Revenue will pay interest on late payments of Tax Credit !
Jef Dijkman, England

Further evidence of a new administrative process in absolute chaos..... I applied for Child Tax Credit months ago via the Internet route. All seemed in order and lo and behold the paperwork (somewhat hefty notification papers) arrived in the post telling me I was entitled to 40 a month. On Day 2, exactly same paperwork arrived addressed to my wife but with identical details. One week later, two more identical sets of notifications arrived in the post, one for myself and my wife. Two weeks later, yet again two more sets of notifications arrived. After six attempts I can reassure the Inland Revenue that I have got the message by now ( but please spare a thought for the tree it was printed on)
Steve Clarke , UK

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this but I applied for my forms late (beginning of March) and the IR actually 'phoned me to chase them as I didn't return them immediately! I'm not quite sure why they were concentrating on the forms that they HADN'T received, rather than the mountain in their "in tray". I completed and returned the form and have already received notification of my payment. Having read the other messages posted on the website, I realise just how lucky I am!
CD, England

I'm in the same boat as everyone else, wondering who I should contact first to tell them I can't afford to pay them this month. I have just faxed my MP a message via a website hoping that he can help, the Government set this up so it's up to them to sort it out. Hopefully now it is 'news' the IR may at least respond to all the worried families.
Rachel Williams, UK

My wife & I applied for Tax Credits - we used to get WFTC, as I was unemployed and she was on maternity leave. Yet the forms ask for details of the tax year that we were both fully employed (me earning more than twice what I am on now!). We have been told that we will be rejected, but then to apply for a change of circumtances form! How long will this all take?? So far we have had a confirmation letter of receipt of the forms, and then a few weeks later a letter telling us not to miss out and to get our forms in!! It just seems too complicated and kids are expensive things to keep!
Ian Tuckley-Skelton, England

I have applied but been turned down. My entitlement is based on my earnings two years ago when I was earning a good wage. I am not so lucky now and would qualify for a substantial credit based on my current earnigs but as I was earning more two years ago I get nothing. It thought this was supposed to go to those who need it. Is this another one of Gordon's promises but the small print is not quite as good?
RA, Oxford, UK

Not being a parent myself, I have had no experience with the CTC or WTC. However, after reading everyone's comments today, I am absolutely appalled.
Ali Newton, Uk

Based on my workplace straw poll no-one has received their award notification. I submitted my claim in November '02 and am still waiting, contacted IR, Jan, Feb, Mar and Apr now told that IR are focusing on making payments and that I may well receive payment before award notification comes through. Told to re-contact on 2nd May if no payment made - I guess that is if I can get through.
Joanna, UK

My partner was made redundant last November and hasn't secured further employment as yet. I applied for the new tax credits but our claim was based on my earnings and supprisingly on my partners earnings made in the tax year 00/01 - even though I stated on the form about his unemployment. The initial advice from the help line was that we should notify the IL of his change in circumstances after we had received their initial assessment/decision. When I received their initial decision I notified them of our change of circumstances. Like everyone else I have tried to track my claim without any luck. I am feeling very let down as my initial claim was at the very beginning of the year!
Jane , England

As with everybody else I have found it impossible to get through to this helpline, they may have employed 700 additional staff but it would seem that they only have one phone line ! I have been trying to ask them if I am eligible for the benfits as I have split with my partner but still take a an active roll in looking after the children ( roughly 40 % of the time ) Should I be entitled to any Tax breaks or should the whole lot go to my partner ? Can anyone shed any light on this ? I will continue to try the "helpline" but I am not holding my breath
Steve, UK

I have apply for tax credit last January. LAst February I phoned helpline and asked about my application, they couldn't help me, "the system was not working". Since then I can't get though, lines are allways busy, from 8AM to 8PM. To get things worst I received a new application form this week to fill in.
Luis Pereira, UK

There is never any delay in taking out the Tax and national insurance from your salary. Its just when they have got to give you something there are problems - strange that!!!
Helen Goad, UK

Like many others I am having terrible problems with IR. I filled in original form last October, then I seperated from my partner in Feb, filled in online form as my circumstances have changed. Called and was told they would take latest form which is fine and they had got it. No award notice yet, payday today and received less than ever due to new tax codes. Managed to get through and talk to someone and was told they were having problems, they didn't expect so many claims and I was speaking to someone from a differnt department who could tell me nothing! If I don't hear by May 2nd to call back! So I don't know if they've done my award or when I will get any money, added to which problems with ex and CSA and I'll be lucky to afford a phone to call them back on. Old system worked fine, this is a nightmare.
Jan Lewis, UK

I applied for Child Tax Credit in January when I was initially sent the forms - I did actually receive notification last month, so I am luckier than some, unfortunately I received another notification the other week telling me that they had made a mistake and would need to recalculate....However, there wasnt a delay when I was informed several months ago about my new tax code, surprise surprise!
Jayne Robson, UK

I strongly agree with all the comments. I have called for the last month, I have lost count of all the contradictory statements regarding my claim. Why not save all these comments and post them on to the inland revenue, with their name written on it. It's scandalous.
Paul Thurlow, UK

I feel so angry on behalf of all these people. It amazes me that every time a new system is put into place by the government it is unable to cope with the number of applications it receives. This is yet another calamity that really should be externally reviewed but I fear as usual nothing will be done. I tell my kids to learn by their mistakes and not fall into the same trap again, if my eight year old daughter can understand this why can't Tony's Cronies understand it? Yet one more reason to leave rip-off Britain and move to a country with a fairer system!
PM, England

I have had a very painless process so far. I completed the form two months ago, sent it off and a month latter got a letter back telling me it had been accepted and my wife's bank account would be credited. However, the dreaded form has once again dropped through my letter box. Is this the next tax year form already or is it a duplicate that can be ignored ?. Dare I try and phone the help line ?
Alastair, Scotland

Never mind delays... I wish I had never heard of the new Tax Credits. I am a full time carer for my disabled wife and applied after I received an unrequested form that said I should fill it in even though I received Income Support. Now that I have received my award, I have lost my Income Support, a proportion of my rent and coucil tax benefit, free prescriptions, free school meals et al. Now the literature says people on Income Support DO NOT NEED TO APPLY and that the benefits office will contact you direct but of course there is now no going back for us. No sign of the 20+ extra a week we pay out now either.
Mr Adrian Lee, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England

I seem to be one of the few here who actually have recived the new tax credit. However they overpaid me because they requested my financial details from two years ago when I was not working! Now as a full time working single mum, I depend on these credits to be able to pay the 1/3 of my salary that goes on childcare costs. It seems to me that whoever thought this award system up is not a parent and does not realise how important this financial assistance is to all working parents. Getting it right FIRST TIME should have taken precedence above all else. PS. I received in total seven forms to complete!
Elane, UK

My take home pay has gone down this month like everyone elses - More council tax more NI etc. I have had no pay rise since 1997 but I still need to make sure my family is provided for - SO WHERE IS THE CHILD TAX CREDIT???? - I filled in the form at the end of last year and received another one this week. I CAN'T GET THROUGH ON THE HELPLINE SO WE DON@T EVEN KNOW IF AND WHEN MY PARTNER IS GOING TO GET THE TAX CREDIT. THIS IS MAD!!
Andy, UK

I am one of the lucky ones and I have recevied my award notice. However, a word of warning to anyone waiting on this money to pay bills at the end of the month, my first payment date is not until 2/5/03, two days too late to make the monthly payments. I would ask to change to weekly payments but I would never get it sorted in time so will have to grin and bare it.
C Goldsmith, UK

It has been a nightmare- I just sit and wait for the postman everyday. I have faith though and i hope they can sort us all out. ive lost 44.00 in my wage this month, but not got it from the tax credits side - please hurry up!!
Tanver Khan , Bradford,UK

We applied on-line in March, so I guess I shouldn't expect anything soon. We've had one phone call from then asking to confirm our address. They had the wrong one, even though the correct one was filled in TWICE on the application form. We haven't heard anything since. If I filed my tax return even one day late I would be fined!
Richard, UK

I applied online in January. When I submitted the form there was no acknowledgement email to say it had been received. A few weeks later I received a reminder, and then a couple of weeks after that, another. Worried, I rang the local Tax Office and was given a helpline number to ring. I rang this and was given another number, and then another and finally another. After the interminable 'Menu' options I eventualy spoke to a human being - who I must say was polite and helpful. He took my NI number and then told me that my application had indeed been received and I should get a letter next week (early March by now). Needless to say the only letters to arrive in the next month were 2 more reminders to apply! Just before trying yet again to speak to something other than a pre-recorded message, the letter finally arrived last week telling me that my claim was in order etc. Incensed at the fiasco, I went back to the web-site to try and find a telephone number to call - not a thing! , no way to actually voice your concerns or protest at the wasted money on needless reminders etc. All in all a poor experience and my deepest sympathies to those worse off then myself to whom this money is a life-saver.
Pete F., UK

I've not received my tax credit payment. My forms were completed in July last year. I've been phoning them for a month, got through after a long wait, and just been given the brush off. I'm not sure what to do. They could defintely post on the Net and say what is happening. How does one get interim payments?
Tessa, UK

My wife's been trying to get through to the helpline since February (the application was made in September and all we've received since was a fresh form). She managed to get through once, only to be told the computer system was down. Every time since, she's gone through the menus only to get a recorded message saying they can't deal with anything. She finally managed to speak to someone today (in a different department). It seems they are concentrating on getting the weekly payments processed first, then they'll deal with the monthlies. They expect to be paying us by 2 May, though written confirmation may take longer.
Danny Colyer, UK

Have to admit I've had no trouble getting through to the Helpline on three seperate occassions. Have received my award notice but I had to call up to change some details and await revised award so maybe this is where my troubles will start. You have to sympathise with the staff though (no I don't work for the Inland Revenue!)
JW, Coventry, UK

Sorry to be unpopular but I have had no problem with the change over from the Working Tax to the new Child Tax. Every time I have rang I have got through, they have been helpful and my payments have been put in the bank on time!!
Viv Wright, England

Personally, I have had no problems claiming, and i wonder if everyone applied as early as they say!! Its easy to be over critical but it seems to me most people started applying in January, when this was well set in place last September
mal goulding, uk

I have the same problems, I have had no confirmation about what and how much tax credit I am eligible for.My wftc has now ended and I am left not knowing when my next payment will be. I have contacted the inland revenue after holding for long periods of time they advised me they would get someone to call me the next day but still I
Natalie Hannon, East Sussex England

Reading the comments here, not one person seems to have anything good to say about it. I applied as soon as I received my form last year, and got an acknowledgement. Nothing since. Received another form a few days back. Eventually got through on the phone line to be treated by someone who obviously had heard it all before. We need three things: a. this mess to be explained by the government b. this mess to be sorted out c. this mess to highlighted as much as possible by the media until something is sorted. I was told that we would get the money on 2nd May - the day after local elections. Think I know who I won't vote for.
Glyn Simpson, UK

My husband and I sent the application form before Christmas. Then a few weeks ago, I telephoned the Inland Revenue helpline, eventually I got through. I had to explain to the person on the other end that I had since changed employers and the details were duly noted on the computer system, but they needed my husbands NI number. He telephoned them and sure enough gave them the relevant information. Imagine our surprise that a week later we received a call from the Inland Revenue, asking us why we hadn't sent our form in, and had we received the reminder letter that they had sent. so much for their new computer system!! We were promised the notification mid-April - it still hasn't arrived.
Lorna Curnow, uk

I applied for my tax credits at the beginning of January online, giving them plenty time to process the application. My first fears where started when my workmate (who applied online the same day) got his letter from the tax credits. Three weeks later I hadn't any thing so I decided to ring the hotline, a week and a half later when i got through the gentleman on the line said I had a payment due on monday, so i gave them the benifit of the dought and went to the bank tuesday NO MONEY with a family of four on a low income the money comes in very handy, I have now had to use all my savings just so my family can have a decent easter holiday.
Lee Stoneman, England

I returned my form last Autumn and was sent a note confirming that the tax credit office had received it. However, I have heard nothing since then - until a completely new form arrived in the post on Friday for me to complete! I cannot get through on the so-called help line, so I have decided to write to the tax credit office and am sending a copy of the letter to my MP.
Lynne Howard, England

I have not received anything,I have been told that mine has not been worked out yet and will be paid a month in arrears.Its a pity I cant pay my income tax in arrears they would soon chase me.
Amanda Brazendale, England

I have been phoning the helpline daily for 6 weeks and got through once, only to be told that the system was down and could I try again later!!! What a farce.
Rachel Gray, England

It's absoluitely disgusting. I shall also be contacting Blair and Brown to demand action.
Chris Rolfe, UK

I had no idea there was any problem with the new tax credits system until I checked my bank account this morning to see no money had been paid in. I am a single Mum with two children and as so many others rely heavily on that extra payment each two weeks to pay my bills. I will definately go overdrawn and if I do will the Inland Revenue pay the charges? If it is late in coming will it be back dated? If not are we expected to make up the shortfall? I gave up trying to get through to the helpline and now having read all the other comments dont think I will bother trying tomorow!
Jackie Tranter, England

I won't receive any money before I next get paid at the end of the month, thus my income for this month has been suddenly and without warning been cut by a quarter. Had I been told more than a month ago when I phoned, that there were problems I could have budgeted to allow for it, but as it is I can't. And I am one of the lucky ones, for many people the top ups in the form of wftc/tax credits form well over half their income. How are these people supposed to cope?
Kam, England

I sent my form at the begininng of Feb. I received a letter to say that they received my form. yet I still have not heard how much I will receive. When I try to phone and I get message saying that the lines are busy. What a disaster. I am sure we will be worse off.
Ian Turnbull, UK

Just a tip,do not choose option 3 on the help line.Go for option 5 if you want to speak to someone who can actually access your details.
L.A, uk

To me, this sum's up the UK If it can be cocked-up it will be.
Toby Cockburn, UK

What is the point of this new system, I filled in the forms sent them off to meet the deadline, I must be one of the lucky ones I did recive notification of what we would get, only to be followed two weeks later by a new set of forms. After a week of phoning the help line to ask why the new forms I was told it is a fault in the system, each time a quality check is carried out the system sends out a new sent of forms quality? What a good way of of messing up a system that was working, Well done Tony!
Andy, uk




SEE ALSO:
Problems in getting hold of tax credits
14 Apr 03  |  Working Lunch
Tax Credits: Emergency payments
12 Apr 03  |  Moneybox
Concern at Tax Credit delays
22 Mar 03  |  Moneybox


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