Through overwork I overlooked informing HMRC that I married in August 2015. On 31 March 2016 I came off tax credits because I was cashing in a pension policy for funds to convert my house. At the time in 2015/16 I was struggling with the upkeep of my guest house, running the business and having everything to do myself and running another business where I had bad debts in the past and the money earned was all going to pay off debts I had incurred because of those bad debts and a struggling guest house business.

I know that being busy isn't a reasonable excuse. My total earnings in that year were less than £6,000 and my new wife wasn't working because of ill health. I recently put in a digital claim because all the building work has left me short of money to live on and I mistakenly put 2014 down has our date of marriage instead of 2015. When they said they wanted repayment of nearly £2,000 they also said they were going to fine me £3,000, so with the worry of that and barely having enough to live on I just said I had made a mistake because of hard drive problems I am having with my laptop and told them the date was two years later.

Do you think I should come clean and say that it was 2015?

If I don't come clean would this mistake of mine become fraud?

Better come clean before they

Better come clean before they find out.

Profile: retired barrister legal adviser with MOJ.

If I do

I can't repay the money and penalty because of borrowings for conversion work plus if I don't get tenants in I will have £300 per month council tax to pay. The maximum I will be able to repay is about £25 per month.

Profile: Accountant, Guest House owner and Landlord. Qualified as an FCCA and FMAAT.

The longer you avoid

contacting them the worse the situation could become.

Profile: Interested in the subject

Reply to Law Interest

It is now 10.35 pm on Friday night and it is probable they won't be open till Monday morning again. Many thanks anyway, it looks like I will need to put in a joint tax credits claim to pay off the overpayment, penalty and council tax because I have little income coming in, even with my State Pension later on in the year, for the next couple of years. 

Profile: Accountant, Guest House owner and Landlord. Qualified as an FCCA and FMAAT.

Just to update

I have now informed them the correct details and now have £1,250 to repay and no penalty instead of the £2,000 plus £3,000 penalty their other advisor told me. Still not good but at least I can put in a joint claim this year, until end of November which will be enough to cover this overpayment plus a likely penalty of £300 and the 2016/17 overpayment of £200.

Profile: Accountant, Guest House owner and Landlord. Qualified as an FCCA and FMAAT.
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