Buying a house could trip you up
In September HMRC launched a joint venture with the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association. For a fee of £14, mortgage lenders can apply to HMRC with borrowers details for cross checking against income tax and employment returns that are held on file. The idea behind the venture is to weed out any fraudulent applications.
On the face it this isn't a BusinessMan type story. However, delve a little deeper and you'll see why this story has made the page...it's because in receiving mortgage application details HMRC will be able to see who is (in)accurately reporting their income. After all, a discrepancy between the records will be lit up like a belisha beacon.
The programme isn't designed to be a 'free-for-all' for the lenders - there must be a reasonable suspicion of fraud. But who decides where there's a reasonable suspicion?
Interestingly, whilst the law behind the programme dates back to 2005, the US IRS has running something similar for sometime and they only charge mortgage firms $2.25.
This was first published in October 2011