Foggy wrote:Has this actually been demanded -- or was this an online calculator ? Hopefully you will be able to negotiate a payment plan.
Thanks so much for getting back to me. We've had 2 letters, the second one received last week as a 'Final reminder' - asking us '...do you have to pay the High Income Child Benefit Charge for 2017 - 18?' They ask whether myself or partner have taxable income of over £50k in a tax year and if we receive child benefit payments. if the answer is 'yes' to both, 'the person with the highest income must sign up for Self Assessment straightaway. Once they have done this, they must also file their tax return and pay the charge by 31st January 2019.'
The thing is, they obviously know that we exceed the earning limit [it's my partner's pension that takes him over] but my partner's income has not increased greatly over the last 8 years or so, so they could take the view that we've always been over the limit [reading about it now, this charge seems to have come in in 2012]. Could they back date this 7 years? To be honest, I was aware of changes to the Child Benefit allowance, but I'd got it in my head it was over 60K - at any rate, we'd assumed that if we weren't entitled to something, then we'd be written to and told we weren't entitled [as they did with our working tax credits several years ago]. it almost seems like enticement to defraud - why give it to you and then tell you that you've got to give it all back at the end of the year? When we recently received these letters, we thought we might have to pay a nominal fee or small fine for being over the threshold - we had no idea that we weren't entitled to anything more than £200-£300 per year and that we'd have to pay all of the rest back. I know it's no excuse, but you know what it's like when you're on an IVA [particularly one that lasted 8 years] - we just had our heads down, trying to get to the end. The living allowance of £470 was insufficient, but it's all we could allow ourselves to get onto the IVA in the first place, so we had to make it work. The child benefit was accounted for in the annual review every year and there was no warning or advice from Aperture to remind us to check our child benefit entitlement. After struggling to get to the end, we still haven't received our certificate or any official recognition that we have successfully completed the IVA [just completed one final income and expenditure, to make sure there wasn't anything else they were entitled to] we're simply relieved to have finished paying. We anticipate it will still be a long time before we are credit worthy again, and we are just trying to work on our mortgage arrears and paying back family members who have helped to provide essentials for the children, when we haven't been able to. We're still not in any financial shape to be paying £1400 by 31st January, so we'll probably get a late payment charge. Do you know if they offer payment terms, because if they backdate this, it could add up to over £9000. Do you think they might take into account the fact that we've been locked into an IVA and we weren't really benefitting from the money - it just all went into the IVA pot.
Thanks so much for any thoughts you might have on this.