It's lucky for some in the MIRAS lottery

The precise moment when Miras, worth an average of £20 a month, comes to an end depends on your lender
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The Independent Online

Britain's 10 million home owners are bracing themselves for the end of mortgage tax relief, Miras, next month. But, thanks to the different deals the Inland Revenue has negotiated with mortgage lenders, some people will receive the tax relief for an extra month, while others will get none at all.

The precise moment when Miras - worth an average of £20 a month - comes to an end depends on who your lender is. Some banks and building societies have negotiated with the Revenue to end Miras from 1 April. Others will give their customers mortgage interest relief for the five days in April before the end of the tax year.

A third group have split their customers into two sections - those with repayment dates between 1 and 5 April, who will receive Miras for the whole of the month, and those whose due date is from 6 April, who will not get any relief in April.

Luckiest are the borrowers who have policies with Halifax, Nationwide, Cheltenham and Gloucester and Leeds and Holbeck Building Society and repay their loan on or before 5 April. They will receive Miras for the whole of April. Unlucky are those who repay on 6 April or after for they will get none.

A spokesman for Nationwide said: " Most of our customers have payment dates before the sixth of the month, so most will benefit."

People buying their home with Coventry Building Society do moderately well. No matter when the repayment date is, customers will receive the average of £3.16 of Miras accrued in the first five days of April.

John Thomson, deputy chief executive of Coventry, said: "Most of our customers make a repayment after 5 April, so the majority would have lost out if we had split them according to the date of their repayment." The least fortunate are people with Barclays and NatWest. Customers may well feel cheated, especially because the Revenue has ruled that they will not be able to able to claim back their lost Miras on their self assessment tax forms.

A NatWest spokesperson said: "Our policy is based on the fact that when Miras was introduced, in 1983, our customers received Miras from the beginning of the month rather than the beginning of the tax year on 6 April. That extra benefit is being evened out."

But this is not the case for all customers of NatWest and the others with a similar approach. Only those who took their mortgage out with one of these lenders after 1983 reaped the initial reward of a bit of extra Miras. Those who had not begun their policy at that time did not benefit - but will still lose out now.

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