Dead man is not my lodger

Jacqualeen Strain with the letter she received from HMRC
Jacqualeen Strain with the letter she received from HMRC

A Bellshill woman has been told she owes the taxman £6,000 after she was accused of being in a relationship with the dead son of her home’s former tenant.

Jacqualeen Strain of Nobles View was shocked in April when the firm Concentrix acting on behalf of HMRC asked who Edward Henderson was.

Miss Strain told them he was the son of the woman who occupied the house before her, something she knew only as she had received mail for him.

Then this week she was told her tax credits were being stopped and she owed £6,000 due to Mr Henderson’s ‘link’ with the property.

Miss Strain said: “In April I was asked if Edward Henderson lived at this address. I had got letters for him so I knew who he was.

“As far as I’m aware his mum and his sister lived here, but he never did and I understand he has been dead for around six years.

“I gave Concentrix the last address I had for him. The woman I spoke to on the phone was very nice and seemed shocked by what I was telling her.

“However, when I questioned a supervisor or manager there as to what steps they had taken to look into this matter they wouldn’t or couldn’t give me an answer.

“Before I know it I get a letter from HMRC telling me my tax credits have been stopped and I owe them £6,000.

“There is just me and my son here. I am a single parent and I shouldn’t be getting put through this.

“Even if their system has some sort of fault surely a bit of common sense should be used by HMRC?”

HMRC says it is up to Miss Strain to prove the decision is incorrect.

A spokesperson said: “HMRC does not comment on identifiable tax credits claimants.

“When we have reason to believe something is, or may be, wrong with a tax credits award, we write to the claimant to ask for further information to make sure the right money is being paid.

“It is important we do not make overpayments to protect the taxpayer and prevent customers getting into debt which they have to pay back at a later date.

“If the claimant later provides information that shows our decision to be incorrect we take urgent steps to put things right, reinstating the award from when it was stopped or amended.”