Letting a room through Airbnb? HMRC tracks your income & data!

Letting a Room through Airbnb? HMRC Tracks your Income!

Letting a room through Airbnb? HMRC tracks your income & data!

Back in late 2015, we forewarned that HMRC was planning to force on-line companies like Airbnb to share customer income data with them. That plan has come to fruition and HMRC is now receiving detailed information from Airbnb and other online providers. The data will tell HMRC about lettings income that may have been previously falling under their radar.

Airbnb is an on-line marketplace where people can rent out rooms, cottages, apartments and suchlike to those looking for short-term accommodation, city breaks, holidays or lower cost alternatives to hotels and overnight business stays.

We understand that various on-line providers, including Airbnb, are now exchanging information with HMRC. HMRC then uses their analytical tool “Connect” to track and monitor income from such sources. This powerful application was developed by BAE Systems and is the most advanced data gathering tool HMRC has at its disposal.

So, if you let property or a room on Airbnb, you can expect detailed information to be passed to the Revenue about your letting activities and the income it generates. While you may currently be able to earn up to £7,500* per year tax-free for furnished accommodation under the Government’s ‘Rent a Room Scheme‘, care needs to be taken to submit a tax return and pay tax on any income received once you have gone over that limit. Higher rate taxpayers also need to take care if their rental income pushes them into a higher tax bracket.

In order to qualify under the Rent a Room Scheme:

  • The room must be furnished;
  • The relief cannot be used if you let your home whilst living abroad;
  • The accommodation provided cannot be office space or business space.

Changes arriving in 2019:

HMRC recently held a consultation with relevant professionals and the public about whether the scheme should continue in its present form. Following this, they have announced that the scheme will be more restricted; landlords who do not live in their “main residence” at the same time as their tenants will probably no longer be able to claim “rent a room relief” from 6 April 2019.

Tax Help & Advice for Lettings Income

If you need our help handling your lettings tax needs, Taxfile is here to assist you. We’re tax experts and can guide you through the maze of rules and regulations concerning lettings, renting out accommodation, tax thresholds, knowing when it’s appropriate to work under the Rent a Room Scheme, whether you can claim expenses and so on. Book an appointment at your nearest Taxfile office: for Tulse Hill in London SE21 book an appointment on-line here; book here for Dulwich in SE21; for Battersea in SW8 book your appointment here or for Exeter and the South West, book your appointment here. We also have tax advisers who are available in other UK locations including Poole in Dorset, Carlisle, Yorkshire and Plymouth. Alternatively, simply call 0208 761 8000 or send us an email here and we’ll be happy to help to get you on the right track.

Learn more about our services to landlords and those earning an income from property lettings here.

* Correct for tax years 2016-17 and 2017-18. For tax year 2015-16 the threshold was only £4,250. Also note that the current year’s threshold reduces to £3,750 if someone else, for example a joint owner, receives lettings income in the same property.

New tax planning & tax advice service from Taxfile

New: Tax Advice & Planning Service

New tax planning & tax advice service from Taxfile

You can now get tax planning and tax advice from Taxfile. We have highly experienced senior accounting staff who can give you the right tax advice when you need it most — for example, when your circumstances are changing, if you’ve had trouble keeping on top of your tax commitments and need to bring things up to date, or perhaps a friend or relative simply needs a bit of reassurance with regard to their tax situation. Perhaps you have assets or income abroad as well as income in the UK and want to make sense of your tax position. Or, perhaps you have recently made a tidy profit trading crypto coins like Bitcoin and want to know where you are from the standpoint of Capital Gains or Income Tax. Maybe you need to disclose income from property rental that you have previously not told HMRC about (more about that in a later post). Those are all examples of typical situations where our new Professional Tax Advice and Tax Planning services can help you to see the wood from the trees.

A Free Telephone Consultation

In the first instance, we are inviting clients to speak for just 15 minutes with one of our resident tax planning experts. This will be in the form of a free, introductory telephone call, perhaps in February or March if it suits you. We can then see what’s needed and take it from there. We can, of course, discuss any costs with you before you commit to anything further, and there is no obligation.

Whether it’s about labour taxes, investment taxes, business taxes, disclosures to HMRC or even professional help to support you during an HMRC tax investigation, we can make sense of all the options for you and — in a fair and ethical way — help to make sure you are paying no more tax than you should do. With decades of experience in accountancy and tax planning, we know exactly what’s what when it comes to tax, so can definitely help you. Call 0208 761 8000 to arrange your free 15 minute telephone appointment with a tax expert, at a mutually convenient time. Alternatively, Read more

Landlords warned over tax on Income from lettings & property investments

Buy-to-let Changes Are Coming — Landlords Beware

Landlords warned over tax on Income from lettings & property investmentsA warning and reminder to landlords: the Chancellor’s Summer budget back in July will hit buy-to-let investors’ profits once the changes kick in, so now is the time to start planning ahead. Not all landlords will be affected though; if their rental property is mortgage free or if they sell within the next 2 years these changes won’t affect them. However those landlords that are Higher and Additional taxpayers will notice their tax relief reduce by 2020. Also, investors near the tax threshold could find themselves in the next tax bracket, which could have a knock-on effect and increase their tax exposure.

So what are the proposed tax changes?

There are basically two:

  1. Firstly, the amount of tax relief landlords can claim on their mortgage interest will now be capped at basic rate and;
  2. Secondly, landlords will no longer be able to subtract their mortgage interest from their rental income before they calculate their taxable profit.

One in five landlords are expected to have to pay more tax because of these changes, however the new rules will not be phased in until between 2017 and 2021 according to the latest information.

What steps can landlords take?

There are several steps that investors can take to conserve as much profit as possible and to limit the amount of any extra tax payable. For example: Read more

Airbnb in HMRC crack-down on hidden income from renting out rooms

Hosts renting out rooms to be targeted by HMRC

Airbnb in HMRC crack-down on hidden income from renting out roomsHosts who rent out a spare room could soon see themselves being straddled with an unexpected tax bill if companies like ‘Airbnb’ are forced to share data with UK authorities.

Airbnb, the website that allows you to list, find or rent a room in a private residence, has announced that it now has to share details of its users’ rental profits with the tax authorities in Ireland. Airbnb was already required to share this information in America but, until now, has not been required to do so in the UK. However, HMRC are cracking down on unpaid tax from hidden income and this may result in companies like Airbnb soon having to share details of income earned by its UK customers.

Airbnb, which has headquarters in Ireland and America, say they are not currently governed by the same legalities in the UK and so will not be reporting income automatically in the UK but, as part of its crack-down on unpaid taxes, HMRC has said it will be approaching intermediaries like Airbnb for data on their clients. Read more

Infographic: Stamp Duty Changes: Good News for Most!

In what, for most of us, is very welcome news, the Chancellor announced a significant tidy-up of Stamp Duty in his Autumn Statement yesterday. The changes will mean that 98% of those who pay Stamp Duty will save money — and potentially a significant amount. We believe that this is a fairer system, with the richest contributing the most and, in effect, counterbalancing the savings which will be made by those buying any property for less than £937,500.

So how will this affect you?

HM Treasury have released a rather useful infographic which, with the aid of examples, gives you a good idea of the savings you will make if the property you are buying costs less than £937,500 … or for richer people the extra you’ll pay if the property price is above that threshold.

Stamp Duty changes and their affects

So how does it work?

In the old Stamp Duty rules you had to pay a single Stamp Duty rate based on the entire value of the property being purchased. This meant sometimes hugely differing amounts of Stamp Duty being levied for sometimes similar property prices (depending on which side of the tax band threshold an individual house price fell). With the new tax bands, however, buyers will pay Stamp Duty at a rates applied to only the part of the property price falling within each tax band, rather like happens with income tax.

Here are the tax bands and the rates which apply:

Stamp Duty tax bands

You can also try the Read more

HMRC are clamping down on landlords

HMRC are clamping down on landlords who do not declare income from lettingsHMRC are constantly reviewing who has and has not declared income properly from letting out property, whether that’s from short-term lets, long-term lets, holiday lets, letting rooms to students or to workforces. And with new, sophisticated, data sharing systems now in full force across many agencies, authorities, online, via tip-offs and surveillance, the Government has its sights on an estimated 1.5 million landlords who they think have under-paid tax.

Taxfile are here to help landlords get their tax right and to make sure all genuine expenditure is offset against their final tax bill. They can also help out when things have become complicated by liaising with HMRC on behalf of the landlord under fire. Contact Taxfile for an informal chat, without obligation (you can even book an appointment online) or ask for a copy of our ‘Landlords Beware’ information sheet.

Autumn Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer

George OsborneOn 5 December 2013 George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, gave his Autumn Statement in Parliament. Key announcements included:

  • A rise for the Personal Allowance, as was long-anticipated, to £10,000 in 2014/15;
  • the higher 40% tax rate threshold also increasing to £41,865;
  • A new, transferable, tax allowance of £1,000 for married couples and those in civil partnerships from April 2015;
  • For employees aged under 21 employers will not have to pay Class 1 National Insurance (‘NI’) Contributions on earnings up to the Upper Earnings Limit;
  • Capital Gains Tax (‘CGT’) for future gains will now also apply to NON-resident individuals from April 2015 (previously this had been applied only to UK resident landlords);
  • For 2014/15 the annual ISA subscription limit will increase to £11,880 (of which £5,940 can be in cash);
  • There were also announcements relating to the continuing clamp-down on tax avoidance, improvements and plans for UK infrastructure, and the proposed inheritance tax (‘IHT’) simplification for trusts.

The full speech transcript can be read here or alternatively view the following video recording: Read more

HMRC now has landlords in their sights

Residential property lettingsHMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) has announced some new initiatives over the course of the last month and one of these is The Let Property campaign which is a campaign designed to recover undeclared tax from those receiving income from residential property lets. The idea is to encourage those landlords with under-declared income or gains (potentially including income tax, Capital Gains Tax and VAT) to contact them in order to make a full disclosure. By doing so they may well avoid the higher penalties which may be applied to them should HMRC discover the undeclared income/gains via other means. Don’t forget that they now have access to information shared across systems, including in relation to properties both at home and abroad, as well as being gained through their digital intelligence system ‘Connect’ which identifies links between individuals, entities and properties. So the message to landlords is loud and clear!

The campaign applies to landlords whether they have just a single property or a large portfolio of properties and encompasses lets to students, business workforces and the holiday market. Read more

No April Showers for Landlords!

Landlords may benefit by having a Taxfile safety net.
Landlords and taxpayers with small amounts of freelance earnings could well expect to find a Tax inspector appearing unannounced at their Buy to Let property or small home business enterprise! Proposals included in last weeks finance bill and coming into force on April 1st 2009, will herald even more investigative powers for the Tax man. HMRC inspectors will have additional powers to investigate landlords and challenge them over perceived income errors on their tax returns, which could result in fines between 30%-100% of any extra tax due.

In a recent report, HMRC have identified 20% of Landlords (nearly 80,000), as having made errors on their Tax returns. But what is meant by an error? Taxpayers could be heavily penalised for just failing to understand the tax rules applied to rental income. For example, being late with the lettings business registration, or using inappropriate expenses and so on.

Any concerns or worries in this area can be directed to Taxfile who will be happy to offer help and advice. We strongly recommend landlords take advantage of our insurance cover against any tax investigation, this offers Landlords peace of mind and financial protection.

Taxfile welcome your call on 0208 7618000 to discuss your situation.

Good luck.

Land and Property Team at Taxfile