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Advice Please - Child Tax Credits
#1
Mentally start playing sad violin music as you read this.

Main/Primary Carer - Lack of clarity in what actually constitues that
Child Tax Credits - First Past the post issue.

Seperated from my wife in 2015.
We have two sons.
SHE vacated the family home after repeated infidelities.
We have an ongoing issue where she doesnt do fair, equal, pragmatic or act in anybodies best interests bar her own.
Divorce and financial separation is all done and dusted.
She wanted 50/50 of everything she was legally (morally didnt count) entitled to, and she got it.
Got bulk of my pension, enough to buy a house outright and leave cash in the bank and 50% of the contents.
My wife now works full time.
I operate from home.
My sons are my priority so, if for the next few years I have to run on fumes to be able to spend time with them, then I will. Time with them is worth more than money in the bank.
I dont qualify for any benefits. Asset rich, cash poor.
We verbally agreed share custody of the children 50/50 and they flip houses week about without issue.
HOWEVER, as I operate from home, I provide all after school care and all cover during holidays and if the children are off ill. My ex wife contributes nothing to this.
We also verbally agreed to claim for one child each for child benefit.
I applied for Child Tax Credit for one of our children, and this claim was succesful.

My ex wife then cynically changed the childrens addresses with our GP, School and Dentists to allow her to claim for BOTH children.
I am now aware that for some perverse reason Child Tax Credit (CTC) operates on a first past the post system.
If she shared that cash, this would not be a problem, however, she keeps it all for herself.  Challenged her on it, but she wouldnt reply.
She is well coached by family and friends who have all trodden this path before her.

HMRC cancelled my pre exisiting succesful claim and are now actively pursuing me via a debt collection agency for the money back so they can give it to my ex wife!
As I mentioned above, I am running on fumes, and this is the difference bwteen me keeping my head JUST above water, and sinking.
I have been in dispute with HMRC ever since they reversed the award and sent letter after letter of supporting evidence, and taken steps to have the childrens addresses changed back.
I am now at the stage where I am waiting on an appeal date on the CTC award, and HMRC's appeal response had my jaw on the floor. There is clear empathy towards my ex wife, and they feel it would be unfair to stop her money now as she has set her budget and that based the information they have, the children appear to be well catered for by my ex wife getting all the cash. She has lied, cheated and failed to disclose second incomes, none of which they are interested in ursuing. They dont see it as unreasonable that one parent should be able to shower the children with designer labels and foreign holidays at the expense of the other parent as being an issue??? What kind of lesson is that giving my children. My children can see its wrong, but are seeing their mother being rewarded for lying and cheating????
Two staff at HMRC also expressed surprise at the decision reached based on the evidence I had supplied. Hard to sound like I dont have a tin foil hat on, however, there are a lot of strange things going on with HMRC re this. I do wonder if she has someone on the inside. Forms have gone missing, supporting evidence has been conveniently omitted, pertinent facts glossed over or ignored. Or.....it may simply be HMRC staff are struggling and its easier to leave her claim as is, than try and untangle it retrospectively.

So....I guess my question is, has anyone got any advice to help me strengthen my claim and make my appeal?

Although custody is verbally agreed as 50/50, I would absolutely categorically state that I have been the childrens main/primary carer since we split. The complete lack of clarity as to what legally consititutes main/primamry carer also doesnt help. I have supplied all the information that HMRC staff advised they based their decision on, yet in HMRC's appeals response, they seem very keen to ignore all of them and go for other factors that would support my wifes position whilst ignoring any that would prejudice it.
The children would be better served by me getting the CTC award. I would want to get back to the position of parity, then would ensure that any monies were evenly distributed for the care and maintenance of our children.

Thanks in advance.
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