What “bulk data” can HMRC get?

HMRC have what are known as “bulk data-gathering powers”.  This means that they can issue a special type of return, or information notice, to UK businesses and force them to supply information regarding monies they have paid to UK and non-UK based individuals.  They then compare that information to the individual’s tax returns (or will note that no returns have been filed) in order to risk assess for tax investigation purposes.

For example, the taxman can issue a return to letting agents in order to get detailed lists of landlords to whom rents have been paid.  That would include the name and address of the landlord; the address of the let properties; and the amount of rent received in any one year.  Indeed, tax enquiries into buy-to-let landlords, and particularly so-called “accidental landlords”, are one of the most fruitful areas for HMRC investigations into individuals. The data HMRC get includes details of money paid to: individuals; partnerships; incorporated companies; and trusts, amongst others.

So what is the full list of types of businesses HMRC can get data from?

HM Revenue and Customs can (and regularly do) obtain detailed lists of information from the following sources (known as data-holders):

• payers of interest (e.g. banks);
• payers of salaries, fees, commissions etc;
• persons who receive money or value of (or belonging to) another person, in whatever capacity (e.g. money transfer services);
• merchant acquirers (e.g. VISA, MasterCard);
• providers of electronic stored-value payment services (e.g. PayPal);
• payers out of public funds by way of grant or subsidy (e.g. housing benefit, Sport England);
• persons by whom licences or approvals are issued or local authorities who maintain registers (or any other person who maintains a register by or under an enactment). (e.g. lists of publicans, market stall holders, homes of multiple occupation);
• money service businesses (e.g. credit unions);
• persons involved in an insurance business and related activities
• business intermediaries;
• holders of securities or recipients of payments derived from securities;
• lessees, occupiers, users or managers of land;
• dealers in securities;
• dealers of other property;
• managing agents at Lloyd’s of London;
• managers or providers of statutory plans (such as Child Trust Funds);
• holders of oil licences and persons responsible in relation to an oil field;
• persons involved in subjecting aggregate to exploitation, making or receiving supplies of taxable commodities or landfill disposal (e.g. to supply lists of contractors taking “muck away”);
• settlors, trustees and beneficiaries (of trusts);
• charities;
• Postal operators (in relation to VAT only);

What does it mean to me?
If your tax affairs are not in order, be aware that HMRC may be getting third party information about you. They will compare that to the information they already hold: and may decide to launch an in-depth tax investigation. That could be on criminal lines.

How can Lynam Tax Disclosure Experts help me?
Our Tax Disclosure Specialists have vast experience handling voluntary disclosures for people with undeclared income. We have the highest levels of training; extensive knowledge; expert skills; and depth of experience to properly manage your disclosure to HMRC.  We can reduce the disruption and get the best outcome for you.  If you’re already under enquiry our experts can get you the best possible solution.  HMRC use dedicated teams of specialist tax inspectors: so you need dedicated, experienced, and committed experts on your side.

 *For a free, discreet, no obligation consultation, call us now!

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710