HMRC worker guilty of sharing tax credit details

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A tax office worker has been sacked after using work computer systems to disclose confidential information to her landlord.

Natalie Brennan, 41, could go to prison after pleading guilty to wrongful disclosure at Preston Crown Court (above). Her crime was to divule information about a tax credits claim made by Mary Houghton, an ex-partner of Timothy Lee, Brennan’s landlord, and another man, who at the time was in a relationship with Mrs Houghton, the Lancashire Evening Post reported.

Brennan, appeared in the dock only to confirm her name and enter her guilty plea, the newspaper reported.

Philip Curran, prosecuting, told the court Brennan helped Lee gain information he could use to “make life difficult” for the people concerned.

It is understood Brennan, who worked as an administrative officer at HMRC’s Unicentre in Preston city centre, was asked for advice from her landlord in relation to the benefits claim of Mrs Houghton and the man, who has not been named, the Post reported.

Brennan reportedly told bosses she initially advised Mr Lee to contact the official tax helpline, but it has since emerged she had also checked confidential information relating to the couple.

An HMRC spokesman said: “HMRC expects the highest standards of behaviour from its staff and we will vigorously pursue anyone who abuses the trust that we have placed in them.”

It has been confirmed Brennan has since been dismissed from her position and has been warned she could face jail for her actions.

Judge Norman Wright adjourned the case for the preparation of a pre-sentence report. Brennan will return to court on 31 May to face sentence.

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About Nick Huber

Nick Huber profile image

I’m a specialist business journalist and have a particular interest in tax and technology. 


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09th May 2012 14:58

Bit over the top

"It is understood Brennan maintained to her bosses that she initially advised Mr Lee to contact the official tax helpline, however it has since emerged she had also checked confidential information relating to them.

The court heard Brennan was arrested and charged with wrongful disclosure – a charge she denied, however she later pleaded guilty to the offence on the day she was due to stand trial."


Did she divulge the information I wonder, or was the guilty plea on the advice of the lawyers.

Was there a fraudulent claim I wonder? as usual we do not get the full story.

The report does not say that the landlord used the useful information or had a guess that was right?

I have no issue with the Sacking if confidentiality was breached but a criminal charge ? No wonder their staff morale is low !

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By Exector
09th May 2012 14:32

Low staff moral(s), morale or both?!


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09th May 2012 15:00

LOL ...both

You can't see it now :-p

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By Exector
09th May 2012 15:26

stymied my corrective pun then!


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