As part of a wide-ranging compliance campaign, HMRC has sent letters to non-resident corporate landlords who have failed to pay tax on commercial properties
The letters target companies that appear to have failed to notify HMRC about tax liability when they own commercial property. The companies may need to disclose rental income to HMRC and the letters explain what they need to do next.
As part of a major clampdown on tax evasion by non-resident landlords, HMRC makes it clear that it will take action against anyone who withholds information.
Companies have 40 days to respond to the letter, disclosing any tax liability or detailing reasons why they do not owe tax.
In the letter, HMRC stated: ‘We are giving you the opportunity to tell us about the company’s tax position. If we later find that you have not told us everything, we’ll view this very seriously.
‘If we do not hear from you by [date of letter + 40 days], we may assess what we believe the company owes. If appropriate, we may open an investigation and consider charging additional penalties.’
HMRC is also targeting non-resident landlords, reminding them that earnings are liable for corporation tax following a rule change in 2020 when the existing income tax regime was dropped.
The letter is linked to HMRC’s ongoing programme of work to identify and tackle potential non-compliance by offshore corporates owning UK property.
HMRC has access to detailed information on ownership for all companies holding UK property listed on the new Companies House property register, giving it extra intelligence to launch the targeted campaign.
It is worth noting that HMRC will not charge a penalty if the property owner has a reasonable excuse for a non-deliberate failure to notify. However, deliberate and concealed behaviour will result in a penalty of between 50% and 100% of the tax owed.