Real Life Stories

Rita’s Story

The Problem

Rita* came into the bureau because she’d received a £100 Penalty Notice from HMRC for failing to submit a year-end Tax Return. Rita was confused as she wasn’t (and had never been) self-employed. She worked part-time as a cleaner. Rita stated that the Penalty Notice was the first correspondence she’d received from HMRC.

Our Intervention

The adviser phoned and subsequently wrote to HMRC to ask for Penalty Charges to be removed as it was incorrect of them to treat Rita as being self-employed when she wasn’t. It became apparent at this point that Rita’s tax bill had escalated to £3600.00. In the meantime the adviser discussed with Rita the options for dealing with the debt and working out a repayment plan. When the adviser received further details of the tax calculation he wrote to HMRC challenging the calculation based on the Tax Codes used by HMRC and requesting a reassessment of tax to be calculated for the period in question.

The Outcome

Ten months later after numerous correspondences with HMRC Rita’s tax situation was finally resolved. At the start of the case HMRC were chasing Rita for a total of £3600.00. At the end of the case HMRC owed Rita a £600 tax rebate! Rita was very happy with the outcome.

*Name changed


Andrea’s Story

The Problem

Andrea* was employed on a four year contract in 2012 as a clerical researcher in a hospital. She became pregnant with twins in October 2013. Andrea tried to arrange maternity leave with her manager, but was told that it ‘wasn’t convenient’ and persuaded her to continue working after the birth, but she could work from home to ‘help her out’. Andrea accepted this and felt that she could probably manage.

Andrea resumed work within two days of giving birth. However, after a few weeks Andrea contacted her manager to say that her twins were not sleeping and she was struggling to cope with work. She asked if she could take her maternity leave. Once again she was refused and ended up being signed off sick by her GP.

The manager contacted her whilst she was signed off sick and asked her to come back to work because the company were in danger of losing the funding for the project she was working on. Andrea advised her manager that she was unable to do so. She wrote to HR complaining about the way she’d been treated. She heard nothing back from them. She wrote a second time, but still received no response.

Finally in January 2014 the company wrote to her detailing various options as to how her ‘time off’ could be treated. Andrea was very unhappy about this and felt she had no alternative but to resign.

Our Intervention

Andrea was not able to claim unfair dismissal because she did not have two years’ service. Andrea was advised that she might have a case under the Equality Act and her case was worth investigating further. The adviser consulted with the Specialist Support Unit who advised him that Andrea had a good case for discrimination. The bureau helped Andrea to submit an application to the Employment Tribunal. A case management hearing was set and the adviser put together a Schedule of Loss and hearing bundle ready for the meeting.

The Outcome

The employer made a pre-tribunal offer to Andrea of £13,000 which Andrea accepted and she was very grateful for the help given to her by the bureau and in particular our Employment Specialist.

*Name changed


Charles and Pamela’s Story

The Problem

Charles and Pamela* are both in their 80’s. They are the main carers for their 42 year-old daughter who was brain damaged at birth and works part-time. Charles was concerned that his daughter wasn’t paying enough National Insurance contributions and wouldn’t get a State Retirement Pension (SRP) when she was older and also worried about what would happen to his daughter when he and his wife were no longer around or able to financially support her.

Our Intervention

Our adviser helped Charles obtain a SRP forecast and gave information about paying voluntary contributions to increase the projected level of SRP. The adviser then offered to carry out a full benefits check for Charles’s daughter, which after a number of appointments, resulted in the successful award of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) at £5413.20 per annum, and Working Tax Credit (WTC) with additional Disability Premium at £5563.90 per annum.

The adviser then offered to check benefit entitlement for Charles and Pamela and established eligibility for Pension Credit with Carer’s Allowance Premium and possible Attendance Allowance for his wife.

The Outcome

Charles was delighted with the outcome because nobody during the course of his daughter’s life had ever mentioned a possible entitlement to benefits or offered to look into his or his wife’s entitlement. The additional income would make a huge difference to their lives and Charles felt a lot happier about the future security and well-being of his daughter.

*Names changed

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