HM Revenue & Customs to review 23,000 cases after axing Concentrix contract

HMRC confirms it will look again at tax credits withdrawn by the US contractor

By Josh May

06 Feb 2017

HMRC has confirmed that it is reviewing 23,000 cases where tax credits were withdrawn by controversial contractor Concentrix. 

The tax authority scrapped its deal with the US firm, which was employed to cut fraud and error from the tax credit system, after it was the subject of a series of criticisms, including from MPs on the Work and Pensions Committee.

Of the 59,000 times Concentrix attempted to dock payments, 36,000 were appealed and 87% of those had their complaints upheld, the MPs said.  

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HMRC has now told the committee that it is now looking again at the other 23,000 cases.

“HMRC will review those cases to establish that decisions made by Concentrix were properly made and communicated to claimants,” it said.

"Where absolutely necessary, we will re-contact the claimant to request further information relating to their claim. Current plans indicate that this activity could be completed by March 2017 but the scope of this work will be confirmed once an analysis of the total cost has been produced."

Frank Field, the Labour MP who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee, said the move by HMRC was "testament to the work of parliament on this issue".

He added: “HMRC was right to fire its contractor, but many of the processes used by Concentrix were the same as those used by HMRC itself. 

“In particular, the Committee welcomes the review of cases where claimants had their tax credits stopped but did not submit a formal appeal.

“For many claimants, particularly those who were unwell, lacked self-confidence or had caring responsibilities, the document-heavy process of challenging a wrong decision by Concentrix was surely prohibitively daunting. The real answer is of course to root out fraud and error at entry to the system rather than stopping benefits in payment as first resort.”

HMRC's chief executive Jon Thompson told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee last month that he had "doubts" about whether a "full payment-by-results model" was appropriate for future tax credit work, after the tax authority indicated that it not be contracting out such checks in the future.

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