Parliamentary ombudsman Ann Abraham gave a withering condemnation of the tax credits system and the government's response to the fiasco to MPs this week.
Giving evidence to the public administration select committee, Mrs Abraham was particularly scathing about the way HMRC seemed to 'pick and choose' which of her recommendations to follow.
When asked by chairman Tony Wright MP if the system was characterised by 'systemic maladministration, she replied: "Yes."
She revealed that the number of complaints coming into her office had increased and, when asked how long it would take to sort out the system, said: "This is going to take some time to put right and I think that is years rather than months."
Six million families receive payments from the scheme, which was launched in 2003. Latest figures...