A government scheme introduced to refund large numbers of people who have been overcharged when registering a power of attorney (PoA) has been criticised by Royal London, with spokesperson Helen Morrissey stating “the onus is on the government to sort it out”.
According to figures that were obtained following a freedom of information request, out of 1.9 million people who could potentially be entitled, just 203,000 had claimed their refund by 28 August, with £10.3m being refunded.
The refunds apply to PoAs registered between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017 in England and Wales. However, according to the annual reports of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), 1.91 million lasting and enduring PoAs were registered in the 2013/14 tax year through to the 2016/17 tax year.
The reason behind the refund is that, during this time, the OPG reduced its operating costs as a result of the higher number of PoAs being registered, meaning the process become more efficient. Though, the application fee was not reduced until April 2017, so now refunds must be claimed by 1 February 2021.
Commenting, Royal London spokesperson Helen Morrissey said: “The refund option has been available for some time now and, as yet, only a small proportion of people have submitted a claim. The onus really is on the government to sort it out. They should be contacting people who have not yet claimed a refund to make sure they get their money back.”
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