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Peer2Peer Finance News | September 23, 2017

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HMRC’s IFISA numbers come under scrutiny

HMRC’s IFISA numbers come under scrutiny
Marc Shoffman

PEER-TO-PEER lenders have questioned how HMRC collates data on Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) subscriptions after official statistics seem to contradict the platforms’ own figures.

HMRC has reported £17m IFISA subscriptions and 2,000 accounts in the 2016-17 tax year.

This prompted ethical and renewables platform Abundance to claim it was the biggest IFISA provider, having seen 1,436 IFISA accounts opened in the previous tax year, equating to total investment of £10.5m.

However, P2P business lender Crowdstacker has questioned this, as its own figures show it had 1,548 IFISA accounts and took £15.6m over the period.

Abundance has said that £2.8m of its £10.5m figure was from ISA transfers, while Crowdstacker had £6.5m of transfers.

The money transferred would not count as new ISA funds but that leaves £16.7m of money going into IFISA, leaving very little from other IFISA providers such as Landbay or Lending Works.

Neither have released their IFISA figures.

Additionally, the number of accounts that Abundance and Crowdstacker say were opened is closer to 3,000, rather than the 2,000 figure given by HMRC.

HMRC’s methodology says the ISA data is compiled from forms completed by providers, of which there is a 97 to 98 per cent response rate.

“HMRC is committed to publishing accurate information, if we receive any updates from ISA providers, we will revise these statistics as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson added.

Read more: IFISA uptake surpasses expectations