A Ladybank mother of four has hit out at a private company being trialled to investigate tax credit claims after it threatened to cut off her benefits over a spelling mistake.
Vicky Donald said Transactis, the company which is being trialled for three months by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to check claims for error and fraud, demanded she provide official documents after it noticed a “discrepancy” in her information.
The error was a spelling mistake in her daughter’s middle name because Transactis had replaced Kirsty with ‘Ilirsty’.
Mrs Donald said: “That isn’t even a name. It was obviously their mistake which wasn’t my fault but they just told me rules are rules.”
To fix the discrepancy, Mrs Donald was told to provide an official letter with the correct spellings of her children’s full names, their birthdays and proof they live with Mrs Donald and her husband.
After exploring many options, Mrs Donald said the only way she could provide the information needed by the deadline was to asker her GP for a letter, which would cost £25 a child.
She said: “If I didn’t reply by June 18 they would suspend my tax credits and put a claim against me for the benefits I have received in the last year.
“They put me in the position where I could either pay £100 now or lose my benefits. If it had been my mistake I wouldn’t have been upset but this was clearly a typo Transactis made.”
A spokesman for HMRC said Transactis, a customer insight, data management and anti-fraud services business, was being trialled from May to July.
Since being contacted by the Courier, both Transactis and HMRC have contacted Mrs Donald and the spelling mistake has been corrected. She said it was unfair that other people could be placed in similar situations.
The HMRC spokesman said: “HMRC are determined to reduce the amount of error and fraud in the tax credits system.
“To help tackle this, HMRC have begun a short-term trial using additional external resource to work alongside HMRC staff, and ensure claims information is accurate.”