In one letter obtained by the Bristol branch of chartered accountants Baker Tilly, the Revenue said it had information to suggest the recipient had been in receipt of rental income at some point over the last six years, but was unable to find any record of the income being recorded for tax purposes.
Baker Tilly tax investigation partner Mike Down said a telephone call to the Revenue confirmed it had used information from a local council without comparing it to its existing self-assessment records: “They can’t just send out a letter saying, ‘Give us this information for a number of years’. If they want this information they have to go through the proper enquiry systems.
Down said: “What surprised me was the openness of the Revenue in saying they hadn’t done any checking.”
Questions in the letter included addresses of properties, periods let, the amounts of monthly or weekly rent involved, how the property was acquired and the number of tenants.
HMRC was unavailable for comment.