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Government Issue Response To Tax Relief Petition

Government Issue Response To Tax Relief Petition

Government Issue Muted Response To Tax Relief Petition

The Government has published a response to the online petition that opposes the proposals to change the amount of tax relief on buy to let mortgages announced by the Chancellor, George Osborne, in the post election summer budget.

From April 2017 onwards landlords will only be able to claim the basic rate tax relief rather than the higher rate tax relief on buy to let mortgage payments. It is widely feared that the move will severely affect the profitability of the private rented sector (PRS).

The online petition to reverse the planned tax restrictions on individual landlords has attracted more than 23,600 signatures since being posted.

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Landlords Could Be Taxed Out Of The Market

Landlords Could Be Taxed Out Of The Market

Conservatives Set About Raising Increased
Tax Revenue From Landlords

Before the general election the Conservatives were the only political party to not openly target landlords and property investors with manifesto rhetoric, making them the property professional’s choice for power.

Even before the budget statement was delivered by Mr Osborne, there was plenty of press coverage about the generous tax treatment enjoyed by private rental sector (PRS) landlords and buy to let property investors.

So it was of little surprise that the Chancellor chose to turn to the private rental sector in order to raise some additional revenue for the government.

Conservatives Vowed To Leave PRS Landlords AloneSpotlight predicted that this would happen after the Conservatives were elected, and this year’s summer budget could be just the tip of the iceberg.

George Osborne before the  summer 2015 budget announcement George Osborne’s post election Budget announcement, made earlier in July, contained two  important changes to buy-to-let taxation that will impact on portfolio landlords and higher rate  tax payers.

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Budget Targets Landlords

Budget Targets Landlords

Was The Budget Really That Much Of A Surprise?

The first Conservative budget for 20 years was expected to be good for Britain; however, the reality was not what many landlords wanted to hear.

The decision to target private rental sector landlords and property investors wasn’t too much of a surprise, as the Government can plainly see where the profits are being made and they, like all the rest of the political parties, want a slice.

On the run up to the general election in May 2015 every other political party openly stated that they intended to target landlords, whilst the conservatives remained quiet, prompting a few political commentators to predict that policies would be introduced surreptitiously that would effectively put money into Government coffers.

That’s exactly what we got last week!

The key points that affect landlords from George Osborne’s budget statement include:

Benefit Cap Lowered To £20,000 (GBP)

The total amount of benefits a family can receive over the course of a year has been reduced from £26,000 (GBP) to £20,000 (GBP) – (£23,000 in London).

This is a particular concern for landlords as any loss of income from the reduced benefit cap will hit tenants’ housing benefit first.

Many private rental sector landlords are now worried about increased rent arrears and the probability that many areas of the UK will become unaffordable for large families to live in.

The Government have said that they will allocate £800 Million (GBP) of discretionary housing payments for councils to help affected tenants.

Housing Benefit Abolished For Under-21s

From April 2017 the automatic entitlement to housing benefit for 18- to 21-year-olds will be scrapped for new claimants.

Exceptions will be made for vulnerable young people, including those unable to return to their family home and claimants who were in work for six months prior to making a claim.

Working-Age Benefits Frozen For Four Years

The freeze means Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will fall further behind inflation as the chancellor seeks to stop the housing benefit bill soaring with increasing rents.

Buy To Let Landlord Mortgage Relief Cut

In a £2bn tax bombshell, from April 2017 landlords will no longer be able to claim tax reliefs worth 40% or 45% of the interest payments on their buy-to-let mortgages. Instead, the maximum tax relief will be set at 20%, although the change will be introduced over a four-year period.

Effectively it looks as though 40%/45% taxpayers will only get around half of their mortgage interest (and arrangement fees) offset against their rental income.

20% taxpayers shouldn’t see much change as all mortgage relief will be limited to the basic rate of income tax.

The effect of this will be staged meaning that

  • 25% of this extra tax will be payable on profits made in the April 2017 – April 2018 tax year,
  • 50% in April 2018 – April 2019,
  • 75% in April 2019 – April 2020
  • 100% in April 2020 – April 2021 meaning that the full effect of this change won’t be felt until the January 2022 personal tax bill is due.

Despite the staged introduction many PRS landlords have warned that this could see costs passed on to tenants in the form of higher rents.

Wear And Tear Allowance Tightened

Landlords will have to prove they have improved or maintained their rental property before they can deduct the costs from their taxed profits.

Currently, landlords can deduct 10% of the rent from their profits to account for wear and tear regardless of whether they have improved the property or not.

From April 2016 this is set to be replaced by a new system that only allows landlords to get tax relief when they replace furnishings.

Changes To Non-Domicile Rules

This change in entitlement could affect property investment and buy to let, particularly in London as people born in the UK to parents domiciled here will not be able to inherit non-dom status and people will not be able to have permanent non-dom status.

Anyone resident in the UK for 15 of the last 20 years will have to pay full UK tax.

Rent A Room Tax Free Income Threshold Raised

After 18 years, the Rent A Room tax free income threshold is being raised to £7,000 (GBP) per year. There are an estimated 19 million empty bedrooms in owner-occupied properties in England alone. Freeing up just 5% of those rooms would accommodate 1 million people. This move will also fuel the growth in short, informal lets such as the type offered by Airbnb and the like.

The tax reliefs that have been cut by Mr Osborne were hugely important for landlords in being able to offset other astronomic property costs such as lettings agent fees, landlord insurance, maintenance and repairs costs, as well as council tax.

It is still early days and we need to see how HMRC will implement some of these changes, because they may also try to find additional ways to stop property investors and landlords from profiting from property, however, there are ways to get around some of the changes introduced, including:

Tax Relief

Limited (Ltd) companies appear to be excluded from the mortgage relief cuts meaning that property investors and landlords could potentially look to purchase their future investment properties through Ltd companies.

Buy To Let mortgage lenders could become more open to this method of purchasing properties similar to the way that commercial lenders already facilitate.

Landlords who already own properties personally or in a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) may want to transfer them to a Limited (Ltd) company; however, they will be subject to capital gains tax and stamp duty.

An alternative method to transfer property ownership whilst retaining the current mortgage would be by using a deed of trust, which would transfer the beneficial ownership to a Ltd company. A good solicitor can draw one of these up for you.

Property investors and landlords could also switch their focus slightly and purchase more properties that need refurbishments.

As long as the property is in a habitable condition when purchased but still needs redecoration and comes into the lettings market before the refurb is done, most repairs such as kitchens, bathrooms, paint etc can be offset against all property income from a whole rental portfolio.

Bird_OldLadyWe will always try to keep our sector alive and rents affordable as we are providing services to people who need them, we don’t set out to rip people off, we’re not politicians, we are the ones who take the financial risks, we’re the people who provide housing and it’s our name on the deeds not yours.

You see Mr Osborne, whilst you may think that you are being clever and are tapping in to wealth generated by other people’s hard work and risk taking, well, we as landlords won’t be beaten!

Change in Capital Gains Tax Rules for Non-UK Resident Landlords

Change in Capital Gains Tax Rules for Non-UK Resident Landlords

Change in Capital Gains Tax Rules for Non-UK Resident Landlords

Last month – 6th April 2015. the legislation concerning Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for Non-UK resident landlords came into force, which may seriously affect Non-UK property owners when it becomes time to sell their property assets in the UK.

Any sale of residential properties in the UK concluded before the date of the legislation change, whether the property concerned was a main residence or an investment property and owned by Non-UK resident, should not incur any additional tax charges. 

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Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

Will The Housing Crisis Win The Election?

The Politics Of Housing

It is still generally acknowledged by all political parties that there is a housing shortage in the UK, and each political party wants to offer the public alternative methods of tackling the problem in an attempt to win electoral favour.

Most political parties see the housing crisis in the UK as a possible election winning issue and each party’s election manifesto promises the general public many things, including further private rented sector (PRS) reforms and the introduction of additional legislation. There isn’t much offered by any political party for landlords, except for the promise to put an end to the private rental sector.

A recent survey by Ipsos MORI research published in January 2015 discovered a confusing conundrum, in that:

  • 75% of the public agree that there is a housing crisis in the UK
  • 48% of the public disagree there is a housing crisis in their locality

The publication of each political party’s election manifesto is intended to give the public a clearer indication of the housing priorities of the UK’s next parliament.

However, despite claims of a housing shortage nationally there are still some UK regions that have large proportions of derelict and abandoned properties, many still in a habitable condition.

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Politicians Want PRS Control

Politicians Want PRS Control

Labour Announces Further PRS Controls

The Labour party leader, Ed Miliband, has announced his party’s plans to reform the private rented sector (PRS), with longer term tenancies and rent cap proposals, should they win the May general election.

Labour have been at the forefront of the PRS reform movement for some time, campaigning for longer term tenancies for tenants in the private sector and now the political party leaders want to introduce even more legislation that would effectively cap rental prices so they cannot be increased by more than the rate of inflation (CPI) during the proposed secure three-year tenancies.

The PRS control proposals were supposed to win the hearts and minds of the 9.1 Million households currently living in private rented sector properties, however even tenant campaign groups can see that these new proposals have more holes in them than an old Swiss cheese.

The introduction of new legislation that Labour are proposing would require landlords and letting agents to disclose the rental prices charged to any previous rented property occupants, allowing tenants to have the upper hand in negotiating the best possible rental price with landlords, before the start of a new tenancy.

Do TESCO provide customers with information concerning the actual purchase price that they pay for items before they sell them on at a huge profit, do they reveal operational profit margins – No they don’t!
Prices fluctuate as do operational costs, why should landlords be singled out for special measures when other business sectors are left alone?

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HMRC Tax To Deter Foreign Investment In UK

HMRC Tax To Deter Foreign Investment In UK

Estate Agents Warn That New
HMRC Tax Announcement

Will Put Off Willing Overseas Property Buyers

 

The announcement made by HMRC about altering the Government position on taxation of using foreign capital as collateral for borrowings could have a significant impact on the residential market in UK cities, especially London, according one estate agent.

Cluttons’ Head of Residential Development, Julian Briant, reckons that the new rules over the use of foreign capital in order to be able to obtain a loan in the UK will now result in a taxable remittance, making mortgages less attractive for investors hoping to use money held abroad as security.

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HMRC Want Landlords To Get Tax Affairs In Order

HMRC Want Landlords To Get Tax Affairs In Order

HMRC Want Landlords To Get Tax Affairs In Order

UK property investors and private rental sector landlords are being offered tax training online by Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC), in order to make it easier for them to understand when and how to pay tax on property assets.

The computer-based training tutorials are aimed at property investors and private rental sector landlords who are renting out property and have not registered to pay tax, or have under-declared their rental incomes or have under-paid tax.

The tax training is part of HMRC’s Let Property campaign, and it is understood that HMRC are also in discussion with various landlord associations in order to make the training available to their members.

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Flipping Property To Be Made More Difficult By Government

Flipping Property To Be Made More Difficult By Government

Flipping Property To Be Made More Difficult By Government
In A Bid To Boost Revenue

In the week when I have just purchased my first property to flip, the UK Government announced that they are planning to crack down on the profits made by property developers and property investors who flip property.

The Government want action due to the demand for housing greatly outstripping the supply to market and they want a slice of the revenue that they feel the country is missing out on. This could greatly affect my business plans, so I thought I would examine the issue in more detail:

Flipping property is considered by Government to be the process of changing your main residence before selling a property in order to avoid paying capital gains tax (CGT).

However, as many property people will tell you, “flipping” is buying a property at one price and reselling it again within a relatively short time frame (6 month rules apply) at a higher price, whether you have done any work to improve the property or not.

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HMRC want to sell tax details to private sector companies

HMRC want to sell tax details to private sector companies

HMRC Want To Share Your Data With Private Companies …For A Fee, Of Course

New proposals could see HMRC sharing personal tax data with private sector companies, if the plans being considered by Her Majesties Revenue & Customs (HMRC) come to fruition.

If the proposal gets the go-ahead from the Government it would allow HMRC to lease  tax data to third party companies including private firms, researchers and even public bodies, earning them a nice amount of additional revenue.

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