If you think you will need one – plan ahead!
Recently I had a client who wanted to apply for a mortgage and as their accountant I was asked for the SA302, for the mortgage company. The SA302 is a statement issued by the HMRC stating what you have earnt from income, and what tax you paid. Mortgage advisors use this to assess if you can afford the mortgage you are applying for.
“Easy, I said – I can just go online” – but it was not that simple!
Easy, I said, I just go online for them and download it from the HMRC, after all I have been doing this on and off for years….! As the ‘agent’ I would go online look up the client and download their SA302, print it off and send it to them.
However, the agent data provided by the HMRC has changed because so many accountants use specialist tax submission software to file returns each year and the information supplied by these systems is so detailed, the HMRC seems to think that the applicant can rely on these for the information needed. Which should be true, but what do you do when the loan provider insists on a HMRC form?
Also the practice software has a portal – for the agent to be able to access the form, but this seems to work some clients and not for others?? The portal works fine, but the HMRC data is not consistent!
Why is the HMRC data not consistent?
Why the HMRC data is not consistent is a mystery, and it is not just for earnings information. Agents cannot access the same amount of payroll data that the employer does either, although it would be of more use to some agents, as they often submit the payroll on behalf of their clients.
The answer is that despite the HMRC guidelines telling you that you have to log in with a Government Gateway ID and download a SA302, you CAN phone them and ask for a hard copy to be sent by post!
Phone your accountant or call the HMRC and speak to a person!
So please note, when you are thinking of applying for a mortgage, and if you don’t have a Government Gateway ID, call the HMRC straight away and ask for the SA302, so that you won’t have to wait the 10-14 days expected delivery when going through the application process. Your agent can also ask for you, but they will also have the same delay.
Maybe one day the HMRC will get their software in order, or all the loan providers will be consistent in what information they will accept from 3rd parties, but in the meantime plan ahead!
Ella M Doherty FCCA