Reportedly, tax collectors are snooping on local homes in Thanet and Sandwich in a secret deal between HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the Rightmove Property Company.
This news is from Laura Sandys, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for South Thanet and Sandwich, who writes:
“I am very concerned at the news of a secret deal between the taxman and property company Rightmove that hold the details of 9 out 10 properties for sale or rent across the country. It has been revealed that detailed information on these sales and rentals in Thanet and Sandwich is being collected and logged in a ‘Big Brother’ database to prepare for council revaluation tax hikes.”
“Rightmove is a central web hub used by most estate agents to promote their properties beyond their local area. All the properties on this web site are now provided to the Revenue for them to assess the values of each property for the revaluation of council tax. This deal has not been done transparently and very few estate agents who place their clients’ property details on the website know about this deal.
“The Government has got to come clean", she adds. "It is preparing a revaluation for council tax that will place many of our residents in an even more difficult financial position than today. And yet again rather than being open about this process it is deviously using third parties to collect our home data to increase taxes on our properties.”
The implications are:
• Tax men plunder your data: Unsuspecting homeowners across East Kent are putting their property on the market for sale or rental, without realising that the tax collectors will use it to plan for new council tax hikes. HM Revenue & Customs, which has lost millions of personal tax and benefit records, is systematically raiding estate agency records to build up a property database for its council tax inspectors. Rightmove holds 16 million property records, with millions of individual entries being updated every month.
• Big Brother database invades privacy: People selling their home are not informed that information given to their estate agent, which is then passed to internet portal Rightmove Plc, is in turn passed on to the Government’s tax inspectors. Local estate agents have been kept in the dark about Rightmove’s actions.
• Details on people’s homes: The personal property data being passed to the taxmen include internal and external photographs of the home, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, conservatories, parking spaces, and particulars such as area, layout, style, features and other ‘value significant’ features. The Government claims that the Data Protection Act does not apply to information about people’s houses. HMRC’s council tax inspectors will instruct local councils to increase the council tax on these homes.
“We already knew that HMRC have recklessly lost the tax records of millions of law-abiding citizens. Now the same people are disregarding data protection rules to build up a chilling database of every home in the country.
“Residents across Thanet and Sandwich will be alarmed that detailed information on 9 out of 10 house sales and rentals is being passed secretly from estate agents to tax collectors, without public consent.