How to dispute a tax credits overpayment

If the Tax Credit Office pays you too much in tax credits, they may decide that you have to pay the money back. If they made a mistake or gave you incorrect advice, you can ask them to reconsider their decision that you have to repay it. This is called a 'dispute'.

On this page:

Disputing an overpayment

To dispute your overpayment you can fill in and return form TC846. You can also do this if you’re no longer getting tax credits.

You can get the form by following the link below.

Download form TC846 'Tax credits overpayment' (PDF 182K)

Or you can write to:

Tax Credit Office

In your letter you'll need to give the same information as on form TC846.


Deadline for disputes

You have three months to make your dispute. This starts from the date on the first letter, statement or notice you get telling you that you've been overpaid.

If your claim was renewed automatically, the three months starts from the 'decision date' on your Annual Review notice.

If you've already asked for your tax credits to be looked at again - or you've appeale

You might have asked for your tax credits to be looked at again - a 'reconsideration'. Or you could have appealed. If so, the three months starts from the date on:

  • the notice giving you the Tax Credit Office's decision on your reconsideration
  • the letter from the tribunal or Appeals Service giving you their decision on your appeal

Late disputes

The Tax Credit Office can only accept late disputes in exceptional circumstances - for example, you were in hospital for the 3 months.


What happens next?

Once the Tax Credit Office has received your form or letter, they'll write to tell you what'll happen next. They will continue to recover the overpayment whilst they look at the details of your dispute.


How the Tax Credit Office makes their decision

The Tax Credit Office looks at whether you have met certain responsibilities, and whether they have too. For example, they check that:

  • they gave you the correct advice based on the information you gave them
  • they accurately recorded and used the information you gave them when you made a claim (or renewed your claim) to work out your tax credits and pay you the correct amount
  • you told them about changes in your circumstances throughout the year so they have accurate and up to date information
  • you told them about any mistakes on your award notice within one month of receiving it

The Tax Credit Office may write off some or all of your overpayment if you met all your responsibilities - but they didn't meet theirs. For example, if you told them about a change of circumstances but they did not deal with it within one month, or gave you incorrect advice.

If you told the Tax Credit Office you couldn't check your award notice or bank payments because of exceptional circumstances, you might not have to pay back an overpayment. For example, if you or a family member were seriously ill in hospital.

Find out about tax credits rights and responsibilities

Checking your tax credits award notice


If you disagree with the decision

When the Tax Credit Office has made their decision they'll write to tell you if:

  • they are going to write off some or all of the overpayment
  • you have to pay it back

They'll also tell you the reasons for their decision.

If you're unhappy with their decision and you've got some new information, please write and tell them as soon as possible.

The Tax Credit Office may also review your case if you feel that they have not taken into account previous information you gave them.

If you haven't got new information but you are still unhappy with their decision, you can talk to an organisation like Citizens Advice or Civil Legal Advice. They'll help you consider your options.

Find your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau on their website (Opens new window)

Contact details for Civil Legal Advice on GOV.UK (Opens new window)


More useful links

Repaying overpaid tax credits

Where to start if things go wrong with tax credits

Download a leaflet 'What happens if we have paid you too much tax credit?' (PDF 148K)

Contact details for the Tax Credit Helpline

Leaving tax credits