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If you’ve been overpaid tax credits and have split up from your partner, both of you are responsible for paying back the overpayment. You can try to agree between yourselves what each of you should pay back. But help is available if you can’t afford to repay the money.
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When you make a claim the Tax Credit Office works out how much to pay you based on your circumstances. Sometimes you may be paid too much tax credits and this can happen for a variety of reasons including:
If your claim was a joint claim, try first of all to agree with your ex-partner how much each of you should pay.
The options are that:
Once you have reached an agreement with your ex-partner, call the Tax Credit Payment Helpline on Tel 0345 302 1429 to arrange repaying the overpayment.
You will then get a letter confirming what you have to pay back.
You might not be able to talk it over with your ex-partner. This could be because you don’t want to contact them or you don’t know where they are. Even if you do speak to them you might not be able to agree on what each should pay back.
If this happens you should still speak to the Tax Credit Payment Helpline as quickly as possible. You should also tell them your ex partner’s address if you know it.
You will then be asked to pay back half of the overpayment, with your ex-partner being asked to pay back the rest. You will not be asked to pay back more than half of the overpayment.
The Tax Credit Office can’t take the money you owe from any new claim you make, because the overpayment was on a joint claim. You will usually have to repay the money as a lump sum within 30 days.
If repaying the lump sum means you can't meet essential living expenses, like rent, electricity or gas, you may be able to pay in instalments. Or you might be able to have your payment date put back. In exceptional cases, if paying back causes you real difficulty, the Tax Credit Office may write-off your overpayment.
The Tax Credit Office will always try to make sure that each of you pays back your share. They will take every possible step to get the money back that you or your ex-partner owes.
The most that either you or your partner will ever have to pay back will be half each.
You can contact the Tax Credit Payment Helpline on Tel 0345 302 1429.