Saturday, 2 February 2008

Concern raised over tax collectors snooping on local homes in West Lindsey

Secret deal between tax inspectors & estate agents must be cancelled – Giles McNeill
Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, today expressed his concern at news of a secret deal between the taxman and estate agents. It has been revealed that detailed information on 9 out of 10 house sales and rentals in West Lindsey are being collected and logged in a ‘Big Brother’ database to prepare for council revaluation tax hikes.
· Estate agents and tax men plunder your data: Unsuspecting homeowners across West Lindsey 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 in West Lindsey 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.
Giles McNeill said:
“We already knew that Gordon Brown’s tax inspectors 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 West Lindsey 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.

“Gordon Brown must cancel this deal immediately. Only Conservatives will stop this data plundering of people’s private homes, end Brown’s stealth tax revaluation and abolish state inspectors’ rights of entry into our homes.”

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