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HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are to join forces with and use data collected from Experian to help detect fraud and errors in the benefits and tax credits system…

HMRC has joined forces with Experian in a strategy to detect errors and tax fraud in the tax credit and benefits system, with identified cases facing investigations of fraud.

HMRC have projected that the duration of the data contract with Experian will save the Revenue £700m and the DWP £100m.

A recent pilot using the credit reference agency’s data is said to have protected a potential loss of over £16m in tax credits.

The duration and value of the contract between HMRC, DWP and Experian is currently being kept under wraps.

Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said:

“The government will not tolerate people who dishonestly divert money away from those who are genuinely entitled to it.

“Working with Experian will allow HMRC to escalate the fight against tax credit fraudsters, helping to ensure that they are caught and punished.”

Case studies have been released by HMRC that illustrate where the Experian pilot has helped the Revenue to make the £16m worth of savings so far.

One of the published case studies sees a woman fraudulently claiming awards for being a single mother with four dependants. After searching Experian’s credit data on financial applications made by the household, it became evident that she had a partner living at the address.

The woman’s tax credit awards were stopped immediately.

Other fraudulent claims were discovered in the pilot study from data sources such as the Passport Office, DVLA and credit card companies.

Joining forces with the credit reference agency Experian is yet another step up by HMRC in clamping down on tax cheats in the UK.

Kevin Kinsella Jnr, of KinsellaTax, said:

“As well as keeping the length of the contract confidential at this time HMRC have also not specified as to whether the collaboration will be looking at new tax credit and benefit applications or sifting through already processed claims.

“I would expect the contract between HMRC, DWP and Experian to be for a minimum duration of 12 months if £800m of fraud is expected to be detected. But HM Inspectors of Taxes have been using reports from Experian for years so it is nothing really new.”

Tax fraudoffences can carry criminal tax prosecutionand a lengthy prison sentence.

You should never go through tax fraud enquiries with HMRC without strong, reliable representation.

KinsellaTax staff battle with HMRC tax inspectors on a daily basis for fair settlements and to ensure our clients are treated fairly.

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