You might be able to get HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to cancel the overpayment or reduce what you have to pay.
They sometimes make a mistake - you might not have actually been overpaid, or need to pay all the money back.
HMRC might think you’ve been overpaid because they’ve got some information wrong. For example, if they think:
They should say why they think you’ve been overpaid when they write to tell you about the overpayment. If the reason isn’t clear - or you can’t find the overpayment letter - call the tax credits helpline.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax credits helpline
Telephone: 0345 300 3900
Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0345 300 3900
You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.
If you're calling outside of the UK: +44 2890 538 192
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Telephone (Welsh language): 0300 200 1900
Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm
Your call is likely to be free of charge if you have a phone deal that includes free calls to landlines - find out more about calling 03 numbers.
Make a note of the date and time you call. Also write down the name of the person you spoke to and the HMRC office they work in - for example Preston or Belfast. You might need these details if you challenge the overpayment.
You should tell HMRC you think you were entitled to all of the tax credits you got. To do this, you’ll need to ask them to look at the decision again - known as a ‘mandatory reconsideration’.
See challenging a working or child tax credits decision for how to ask for a mandatory reconsideration.
You might not have to pay the money back if HMRC made a mistake. You can ask HMRC to reduce your overpayment if they haven’t:
If you think HMRC has made a mistake, you should dispute paying back the overpayment.
You can still dispute paying back the overpayment if you couldn’t do everything you were meant to, for example because you were seriously ill.
If you don’t have a reason to dispute paying back the overpayment, you can ask to pay in instalments.
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