A UK-based parenting blogger has been denied working tax credits by HMRC after being unable to prove her working hours.
Katie Davis, a single mother from Dorset, launched her ‘Mummy in a Tutu’ blog in November 2015. Visitors to the blog can expect ‘posts about Life, Parenting, Food (with a vegetarian twist) Reviews and so so much more!’
Despite committing significant time on the blog each day, and the blog providing Davis with the income she is living on, she has been refused working tax credits as she does not, according to HMRC, meet certain criteria. The working tax credits could be worth up to £2,010 per year.
In a post on her blog, Davis explains: “The first week of January 2016 I got my first paid post. The last week of January I told my work that I would not be returning and on April 16th I became unemployed. On April 17th I registered as self-employed and here we find ourselves almost in September and I am still going strong and haven’t found myself desperate and on the bread line… we’re living, my daughter has everything she needs and this is because I can afford to support us by being a blogger.”
Davis explains that when she went self-employed, she applied for Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits. She checked all the facts online, completed the forms and sent them to HMRC. She then received a text a few days later to say her claim would be complete in 3 weeks.
“I received a letter asking me for invoices, receipts, correspondence etc with my clients for the previous month to show how I was working,” she writes. “I phoned to check a few things and when asked what I did I told them I was a freelance blogger. Three times I repeated what I did to which I got the response ‘what’s that?!’ So, I thought I’d make it easier and say I’m a writer to which the response was ‘but how do you make money doing that… we’re not here to fund your start-up business you know!!’ I ‘calmly’ pointed out that I was already earning thank you and did not need funding only the tax credits I was entitled to.”
Davis then printed over 100 pages of proof of her work, before highlighting, annotating and grouping to make it as easy to understand as possible for HMRC. She then sent it special delivery to arrive the next day.
The response from HMRC was ‘I’m sorry madam but we simply can’t see that you’re doing any or enough work to qualify but thanks for your enquiry.’
Single parents have to work at least 16 hours a week to get working tax credits, according to the HMRC.
According to her blog post, Davis fits in work around caring for her baby daughter. She outlined a typical day, which starts at 6am and often ends around midnight, and from a work perspective includes product reviews, photography, promotions and website and social media management.
Davis is working with a number of high profile brands as part of her blog work and is starting to turn a profit. But what can she do to earn the working tax credits after being initially refused?
The main issue is around proof of income, as the law demands you need to be making a profit to claim working tax credits. As this is the case, Davis can ask for a mandatory reconsideration. If that is not successful she can appeal, or even take the matter to a social security tribunal.
The case, therefore, continues….