I appreciate that cock ups occur in life. However, I am having trouble believing that one involving a duplicate NI number and an erroneous tax demand could have gone on for 22 years without being corrected.
The Daily Record recently reported that Darren O’Neill was shocked to find that he had a namesake – with the same national insurance number.
Some 22 years down the line, he was no nearer to resolving his identity crisis.
Darren, 42, said:
“I can’t take much more of this. I am weary trying to explain to the Revenue that I’m being confused with another Darren O’Neill.
We have the same name but different middle names. He lives in Lincolnshire and I live in West Lothian. I’m at the end of my tether.”
Darren, a former surveyor, first spotted the problem when he finished an apprenticeship in 1995.
“I began looking for work and tried to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance while I was doing that.When he started working again, Darren, of Bo’ness, was told to revert to the original number.
But I was told I couldn’t claim because I was working.
This was ridiculous because I wasn’t working – I was looking for work.
I spoke to the tax office about it, they admitted their error and I breathed a sigh of relief.
This other Darren had an identical reference number. So they issued me with a temporary number supposedly for a year while they sorted things out.”
“I recall moving jobs a couple of times and my employers telling me my NI number was wrong.However, in 2010 he received a letter issuing him with a new tax code and claiming he worked for the NHS in Lincolnshire.
But each time I approached HMRC, they apologised, assured me they had solved things and I just kept paying into the system.”
“I then got a P800 claiming I’d underpaid tax on my salary of more than £30,000.Two years later, HMRC wrote to say they would collect the underpayment through his tax code.
I couldn’t believe it. I wish I had an income like that.”
“It was difficult enough making ends meet without deductions for repayment of tax I didn’t owe. But things seemed to be sorted again after I complained and pointed out their error.”When he tried to claim universal credit in November, following a shoulder op, the DWP insisted he was in work.
“I’ve been to my MP and Citizens Advice but I’m getting nowhere. I’m fed up filling in forms. Please help.”HMRC are now "on the case" to resolve the issue.
A spokesman said:
“We don’t discuss individual cases but, where a National Insurance record is not up to date, we do all we can to help customers identify any missing credits.”How on earth can an error like this go unresolved for 22 years?
Tax does have to be taxing.
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