HMRC Intelligence? Not necessarily a contradiction in terms! One of the most commonly asked questions we get from people undergoing a tax enquiry or tax investigation is: what sources of information does HMRC have access to?
The list is potentially endless, of course, and the taxman is always trying to find more and new ways to get information which might lead to the unearthing of underpaid tax. Two hot favourite sources at the moment are information from offshore financial institutions (e.g. Jersey Banks); and details of rental income from letting agents, university letting offices and housing benefit databases. And HMRC are investing huge sums into their intelligent “Connect” computer system: which can analyse and link-up masses of data from a huge variety of sources: and compare it automatically to Tax Return information!
We sat down and brainstormed some of the sources we have known HMRC use in the last few years, and listed them below. As you can see it’s a long list!
- Informers: e.g. disgruntled ex-employees, spurned mistresses, ex-wives!;
- Valuation Office and Land Registry, and EU tax authorities: Property sale/purchase details;
- Banks: Information on bank accounts other investments (see Offshore Disclosures);
- Department of Work and Pensions: Pensions + benefits paid;
- Local Councils and Public Authorities: e.g. housing benefit, council tax, licensing, Taxi operator licences, Business Rate data etc; boat ownership details; Data on care and nursing homes; aircraft and their owners (Civil Aviation Authority); Housing benefits paid by claimants or paid directly to property landlords or agents;
- NIRS: Information on National Insurance contributions, benefit claims and personal details;
- CSA: income and payment details;
- DVLA: A full vehicle history; Cherished Number Plate sold at auction by DVLA;
- DWP computer system: Can be used for tracing;
- Information in the ‘Public Domain’: e.g. planning applications, publicly held registers, National Telephone Directory; Equifax/Experian credit checks, voters lists; FAME/DASH databases for checks on Directors, Companies, shareholders; Adverts: (Yellow pages, Thomson, Google Adwords etc); the Internet (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves etc); garages licensed by the Vehicle Inspectorate as MOT testing stations; radio licenses granted to taxi operators by the Radio Communications Agency; Council Tax exemptions granted by local authorities for student accommodation;
- Enterprise Zone Property Trusts and similar syndicates: Information about income from investments;
- Approved Driving Instructors – membership list;
- Auctioneers: transactions handled on behalf of their clients;
- Chargeable Event Certificates (single premium investment bonds invested with Insurance Companies);
- Prescription Pricing Authority: payments to pharmacists for the cost of prescription drugs, appliances services & out of pocket expenses etc;
- Tax Exchange Information Agreements with overseas fiscal authorities: various data ;
- Companies House: re. directors disqualifications;
- VAT repayments made by C & E on self-build projects, barn conversions etc;
- Fees paid to entertainers, writers and sportsmen/women;
- Publicly funded: payments to expert witnesses in legal proceedings; grants and subsidies;
- Trading Standards departments re traders in their area;
- Legal Aid payments to solicitors and barristers by the Legal Services;
- Rental payments to land owners for the siting of mobile phone masts;
- Transactions handled by stockbrokers on behalf of their clients;
- Current holders of motor trade vehicle licence plates;
- Council Tax exemptions granted by local authorities for student accommodation.
If you are worried about a Tax Enquiry then Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts can help you. For an initial free confidential discussion call:
Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997
Andrew Nutbrown: 0771 877 8710