I got a reply to my Freedom of Information request about stamp duty relief for first time buyers.
- How much has HMRC spent in finding out if someone has previously bought a house or flat in the UK.
- How much has HMRC spent in finding out if someone has previously bought a house or flat anywhere else in the world.
- How much STLD has HMRC recovered from people who have claimed not to have previously owned a house or flat but have owned one in the UK
- How much STLD has HMRC recovered from people who have claimed not to have previously owned a house or flat but have owned one somewhere in the rest of the world.
- How many first time purchases have HMRC investigated whether the buyers have previously owned a house or flat?
- How many of these investigations have HMRC found people claiming not to have owned a house or flat have actually owned a house or flat a) in the UK and b) anywhere else in the world?
I didn’t get the figures I asked for. With regard to the first to questions about how much it has cost investigating whether a first time buyer is actually a first time buyer or not…
In response to parts 1 and 2, I am writing to advise you that following a review of our paper
and electronic records, I have established that HMRC does not hold the information you
I can confirm that HMRC’s SDLT investigation work is managed by a small central team that
co-ordinates resource drawn from across the Department – including solicitors, policy
advisers and specialists in anti-avoidance, compliance and investigation work. A central
record of data on the total number of staff addressing SDLT compliance work in respect of
first time buyers claim issues across these teams is not held.
…and the rest of my request is refused section 31, the qualified exemption rule, as it could give a clue as to the chances of getting caught.
I think this exemption is going a bit far for parts 3 and 4, how much HMRC has recovered, but without the rest of the information it doesn’t really mean much. It’s just a figure that has no scale to it.
I can see how revealing the amount of investigations HMRC has carried out and the amount of fraudulent first time buyers they’ve found could give away their success rate and so the chances of being caught.
The problem is, each piece of information is not really any use without the rest so, unless you guys can come up with a reason why HMRC should cough up then you’ve got till the beginning of April to let me know.