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HMRC aims to secure details of more landlords

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HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has put forward plans to increase the power it has to collect tax from landlords.

The measures, which have gone out for consultation, would enable HMRC to ask letting agents to supply the names and addresses of all the landlords registered with them, whether now or in the past.

At the moment, HMRC only has the authority to oblige agents to reveal the details of those landlords who employ the agency to collect rent.

Should the new powers come into effect, HMRC would be in a position to ask for a disclosure on any landlord who has paid a fee to a letting agent.

Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla), said: “There are vast numbers of landlords that use an agent to find a tenant in a ‘let-only’ arrangement. While this push by the Revenue has the potential to catch a lot more landlords out, it will also create a lot more work for agents in terms of their record-keeping.”

According to government calculations, some 10 per cent of landlords register with agents on an ‘introduction-only’ basis.

HMRC said: “A power that included such transactions and the addresses they relate to would allow HMRC to make sure that people with income from letting property pay the right tax.”

In the past, HMRC has targeted landlords who claimed tax relief on their mortgage repayments. The law, in fact, only allows a deduction from income tax for interest repayments rather than for repayments that go towards the capital sum.