Letting Agent charging for HMRC tax assessment

by Readers Question

10:44 AM, 13th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Letting Agent charging for HMRC tax assessment

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Letting Agent charging for HMRC tax assessment

The latest statement from my letting agent had a fee of £35 for ” HMRC tax assessment”. Letting Agent charging for HMRC tax assessment

When I queried what this was for her reply was; “the HMRC requested information from me under new Agent Regulations that have ‘just’ been enforced, and I had to provide to them a detailed spreadsheet of all landlords (those managed and even non managed properties) for income received for 2014/2015.”

I also of course called HMRC to have this verified by them and they confirmed it’s to chase landlords who are not paying tax and it is something that will be required every year, approximately the same time too.

Can my agents charge me for doing this as it was HMRC who wanted it, in their own format, within weeks !

Has anyone else heard of this and do you think it is right for letting agents to pass this fee on to Landlords?

If she manages say 100 properties that is a quick £3,500 for her to produce a spreadsheet!

Any thoughts or advice would be gratefully received.

Many thanks

Rachel



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:58 AM, 13th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Interesting thoughts Rachel.

At £35 per property that does seem a very lucrative piece of work for the agent, especially as it is something that a junior member of staff could probably deal with. Even if it takes one hour per file to gather the required information the £35 being charged is still a bit steep in my opinion. I suspect the entire spreadsheet could be produced in a matter of minutes by a competent agents who uses decent software though.

For £35 is it really worth challenging? The agent is probably think that's what people will think too.

Sometimes it's a matter of principle though. If an agents shows signs of ripping you off and gets away with it, where is the line drawn and where does that sit in terms of a trusting relationship?
.

Rachel Weaver

11:07 AM, 13th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "13/11/2015 - 10:58":

Thank you for your thoughts on that Mark.

Is this HMRC tax assessment something you have heard of?
Do all letting agents have to do this or does HMRC only target certain agents?

Mark Alexander

11:44 AM, 13th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rachel Weaver" at "13/11/2015 - 11:07":

Hi Rachel

Yes these HMRC checks are very common place these days.

I'm not sure whether every tax office performs these checks but I know for certain they do here in Norfolk.
.

James Leavesden

11:50 AM, 13th November 2015
About 3 years ago

I believe the rules apply to all letting agents. One of my agents informed me that have completed the declaration and I could have copy for what they sent for £40+vat to help me fill in my tax return. I politly declined. One other sent me the copy for free with my monthy statement. The others have never mentioned anything.

Rachel Weaver

12:42 PM, 13th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Thank you for your comments.

Steven Burman

11:57 AM, 16th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Rachel

I suspect most agents would have this information to hand for their own internal use, if nothing else.

From other comments on your question it is evident there is disparity between agents (some charge, some dont)....if you feel you are being ripped off then perhaps you should consider switching to another agent? (be sure to let your current agent know why you are moving!)

SB

Teg's Dad

12:07 PM, 16th November 2015
About 3 years ago

It has been standard for a couple of years now and includes any property where the agent has received any rent. So if the agent found you a tenant, took first month's rent and deposit and then handed it over to you, they would still include your details on the form.

To be blunt and with my agent's hat on, charging for this is a rip off and agents should be ashamed. This should be covered by the monthly management fee.

As Mark said it takes just moments to produce the records. Transcribing them to the HMRX spreadsheet does take a while, but no way does it justify a charge of £35. It takes less than three minutes per entry so that is an hourly charge of £700. We then wonder why agents have a bad reputation.

Michael Barnes

13:25 PM, 16th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Seems to me that this is a cost of doing THEIR business, not yours, and therefore should be covered by their monthly fees.

If they did not know about this legislation, then that should be their problem, not yours.

However, they may have put something in you contract.

Steve From Leicester

13:36 PM, 16th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Simple one. Does the agent's terms of business say they can charge specifically for this? If the answer is "Yes" then you're stuck with it.

If the answer is "No" then the agent can't charge you, because its not a service you've requested, its one they've been required to provide by HMRC. If they really want to charge someone they'd have to try charging HMRC (and good luck with that . . . ).

As a matter of interest my agency lets and manages very many hundreds of properties a year. The software we use has a report specifically for this purpose. It takes about twenty seconds to produce the report in Excel format and perhaps ten minutes of tidying it up to make it exactly how HMRC want it.

And no, I don't charge my landlord clients for the privilege.

Rachel Weaver

15:54 PM, 16th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Thank you for all your comments and advice. I will now check my Terms & Conditions. This agent also wanted to charge me £70 for a Legionnaires Disease Assessment, which I politely refused and did it myself! The problem is, that other than these issues she has been excellent!

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