Me Vs HMRC/Concentrix

If you read my blog about being investigated for what essentially boils down to Tax Credit fraud, here’s an update. I sent them all the documents they requested (as best I could) and on January 22nd they sent a letter saying they’d completed their check and no changes would be made to my award. In the meantime, I sent a Freedom of Information request demanding to see the information they claimed they had, information that implied I should be claiming as part of a couple, not a single parent. I waited way more than 20 days and got no response to the FOI, so I re-sent it.

Today I got a response. They have sent me photocopies of all the documents I sent them, including my own bank statements; rent statements; utility bills; the sarcastic letter I posted on my blog, my own FOI letters. The only other documents are standard letters about my claim, which I also already have. In short, they have sent me things I already have, because they belong to me. The only thing they sent that I don’t already have is a glossary of codes and abbreviations that’s six pages long and of no consequence whatsoever.

So the battle continues. I’m pretty cross.

Here is my latest letter to them:

To whom it may concern

Your Ref: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
NI number: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Case no: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Today I received a package of photocopied documents in response to my Freedom of Information Request, initially sent on 20th November, then re-sent on 11th January after I received no response.

I specifically requested to know what information you had causing you to investigate me, demanding to see private, personal documents so you could ‘get a full picture of my circumstances.’ I have enclosed a copy of your original letter (via Concentrix) and highlighted the paragraph, which states:

“We have information that suggests there might be another person linked to you or your address between 06 Apr 2015 and 03 Nov 2015. We need to check whether this is someone you should be claiming with as part of a couple.”

I specifically requested to see this alleged ‘information’ or at least be given an explanation as to what it is. And WHO is this mysterious ‘someone’? You have not answered my question, instead you have sent me, presumably at the expense of the tax payer, photocopies of documents I already have, including my own bank statements and the letters I sent you. You have not responded to my request.

If your initial letter of 4th November 2015 was in fact a ruse to gain access to my bank statements, bills, rent agreement, etc, with no real grounds to investigate me and threaten to stop my tax credits, at the very least you should admit this. Otherwise I demand to see the ‘information’ you claim to have on me.

My Freedom of Information Request stands. I expect a response within 20 days.

Yours faithfully

Maria Spadafora

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Jumping through Tax Credits hoops

I had better things to do today, but this morning I received a letter from Concentrix* – a Business Services Company – on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs Tax Credits department. The letter says they “have information” that suggests someone else is living with me. They’re basically accusing me of co-habiting without informing them (I’m not). So I’ve had to sift through various documents and gather loads of shit together, otherwise they’ll stop our (my son and I) tax credits.

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I’m pretty furious. E’s Dad and I split up 13 years ago! I resent the accusation, am baffled as to where this “information” has come from, and, as I already said, I’ve got stuff to do! So, because I’m me, I’m sharing with you the letter I’ve written in response:

9th November 2015

Dear Concentrix on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs

REF: ******** case reference ***************

I received your letter this morning saying you have received information there might be another person linked to me or my address between 06 April and 03 Nov 2015. I request that you clarify what this information is, please, because I am baffled.

I have lived at this address with my son – E****– since September 2012. Have we ever had visitors sleep over? Yes, of course, but no one else has lived here.

In response to your request for information, I have enclosed the following:

  1. Bank statements for my current account for the period 24th March-16th October 2015.That’s as far as they go up to, to date. There are 21 sheets of paper (I counted them twice). Have fun looking through them, I shop at Morrisons a lot, don’t I?
  2. Cash ISA statements for the period 11th December 2014 – 5th November 2015. There are 3 sheets of paper. As you can see, I’m not very good at saving money.
  3. Notice of Rent Increase from Leeds City Council dated 26th Feb 2015, effective from 6th April 2015. I don’t have a tenancy agreement as this is a council rental, so this is the most recent statement/letter I can give you. 1 sheet of A3 paper, folded.
  4. Council Tax bill dated 2nd March 2015, for the period 1st April 2015 – 21 March 2016. You’ve requested one dated ‘after April 2015’ but it doesn’t work like that, which is good, because I like to get notifications in advance. (1 sheet of paper).
  5. Yorkshire Water bill, dated 6th February for the period 1st April 2015 – 31st March 2016. Way too expensive by my reckoning. It was less than half the price in the last place I rented. (1 sheet of paper).

I cannot supply telephone bills at this time because I am with Talk Talk. And yes, my account was hacked. I don’t receive paper statements and can’t access my online account, but you can see from my bank statements the monthly direct debits.

I also cannot supply gas and electric bills because I have pre-pay meters which involves putting money on a card via the local pay point (whose machine is often broken, it’s rubbish).

Finally, I don’t have any court or solicitor letters such as legal separation documents, decree nisi etc, because I’ve never been married. Some people tilt their head and ‘ahhh’ slightly pitifully when I tell them this, but for me it’s something to celebrate.

Hopefully you have everything you need here (27 sheets of paper containing all sorts of personal information. I’m embarrassed to see a purchase at Caffe Nero in my bank statements, as they are tax dodgers and I usually boycott them, but I was treating my Mum and Boston only has two coffee shops).

Please let me know if you need anything else. And please return my documents in good time.

Yours sincerely

Maria Spadafora

(*means circles, doesn’t it? As in running around in? Apt.)