Appeal Against a High-Income Child Benefit Charge

Appeal Against

Mr. Jason Wilkes, an independent High Income Child Benefit (IICB) investigator, claimed the HICBC was unjustifiably discriminatory because it did not allow his partner, Sarah Halliwell, a British citizen, a U.K. tax credit for the cost of her treatment for cancer. The High-Income Child Benefit (IICB) was introduced in 2021 to replace the existing Jobseekers Allowance (JEC) scheme. The new IICB replaced the old Allowance with a similar system for child care. The new scheme allowed children who became eligible for JEC to claim a tax credit for the cost of their care. This meant parents could claim more money from the government than they would have been able to if they had not been eligible for the JEC. However, it was controversial as the new scheme was designed to replace JEC and was thus open to fraud by pretending to be JEC claimants when they were not, and by encouraging false claims by individuals who were not actually JEC claimants but had applied for the benefit.

Tax Charge

Mr. Wilkes’ case centered on two main issues. One was that the tax charge was not fair because the original plan did not allow for an income support allowance. He claimed the plan discriminated against him on the basis that he was not an income support recipient and that he could not receive the additional benefits due to his disability. His second point was that he was not a high-income child benefit recipient. He submitted that there was an existing situation where he could lose out if he were to claim the tax credit but that he would receive more than he would if he continued to receive support.

Tax Payments

He accepted both points but appealed on the first point, that the tax return did not contain a list of the tax payments made during the period of disability. His appeal was subsequently dismissed as the tax office was not required to list such payments. He also claimed that there was no proof that he was not a high-income child benefit recipient as the tax returns did not include any proof other than that he was in receipt of income support. He claimed that he had paid all tax debts for the year up to the time of his death and that this meant that he was not entitled to the additional income support.

Benefits

His appeal was that he could not receive the additional benefits as a result of the first step of the HICBC assessment and that he should not be penalized solely on the basis that he had not submitted a tax return nor paid any tax. His solicitor submitted that the tax return was a vital part of the process of claiming benefits under the social security system and should be submitted along with the other relevant documents. He also submitted that it was not necessary to submit the HICBC statement of claim as it was not required by the UK tax laws and there was no need to do so as the benefit would be awarded irrespective of whether or not he had filed an application for tax relief.

Tax Return

Tax Return

The second step involved proving that he did not have a reasonable excuse for not having submitted a tax return or did not know that he was not a resident of the UK for tax years 2021 to 2021. The tax accountant was asked to assess the percentage of disability which led to a finding that he did not meet the definition of incapable for tax reasons. His argument was that he had never been disabled and had always been resident in the UK. His solicitor submitted that this could not be an accurate reason as the benefit would have been taxable had he been eligible. His appeal was that the tax charge is based on the fact that he was not resident in the UK for tax years 2021 to 2021 and therefore did not meet the condition for a reasonable excuse.

Child Benefit Tax Credit

He claimed that there was a defect in the procedure followed by the SSA in determining the eligibility of the claimant’s claim for child benefit tax credit. His solicitor submitted that the procedure followed for assessing eligibility to claim tax relief was flawed because it did not consider the effect of a disability on income which was a pre-requisite for HICBC. Another way of stating this is that the definition of ‘disability’ used in the tax year in which the claim is made does not take into account any changes that may have occurred since the last year for tax relief purposes. Another important issue is that the claimant was not entitled to any credit as regards any future disability benefit as this would not have been an ongoing benefit. His appeal failed because the SSA did not consider these issues as critical.

Use of a Tax Accountant

The third step involved the use of a tax accountant to prepare and submit the appropriate forms to the SSA for review. The claimant provided his tax accountant with a list of 10 points regarding the reasons for his claim being declined. These included the SSA not considering the effect of a disability on income, the decision not to adjust the beneficiary’s status on the basis that he or she received a higher pension than they would have earned had they continued to work, not providing evidence that a reasonable person could assume the disability, not providing evidence that the claimant would receive a higher pension if he continued to work at the same employment, not providing evidence that the claimant’s dependents would be better off if he were to continue working, not indicating how his current condition affects his ability to earn a living and not arguing for a higher lump sum as a result of a higher level of income due to his condition. His three-year period of hardship was calculated and found to be justified. His appeal was successful and his claim for high-income child benefit tax credit was subsequently accepted.

SSA’s Initial Rejection

The majority of people who appeal against their SSA’s initial rejection of a claim do not provide a strong enough case to succeed on appeal. For this reason, it is extremely important to prepare a clear-cut case from the beginning. If you want to receive high-income child benefits and avoid having to repay the tax to the UK authorities, you must make a strong and convincing case for why, in your view, the initial high-income child benefit decision was wrong and you should not be required to pay tax at a rate above what you would have paid if you had never become incapable. Hiring a tax accountant with experience in applying for high-income child benefit can greatly assist you in making this case.

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By Nimra Zubair

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