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Revenue ‘will miss tax credit fraud target by £5bn’

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is set to miss its target for reducing fraud and error in the tax credit system by as much as £5bn, a recent report has warned.

While HMRC was tasked with cutting fraud and error in the system by £8bn by the year 2015, the Public Accounts Committee has revealed that the tax authority now only expects to make a reduction of £3bn.

The tax credit system is complex, and the responsibility rests with individual families to update HMRC regarding any changes in their circumstances.

According to recent figures, one in five tax credit awards included an error or fraud which led to an overpayment, with £1.7bn of these overpayments being written off by HMRC.

The committee has called for a more ‘realistic’ target for reducing fraud and error, and has urged HMRC to improve the information it gives to claimants and to do more cross-checking of the data it holds on claimants.

The new Universal Credit is being phased in from October 2013, and will replace a range of existing benefits and tax credits.