Making Tax Digital – A New Time Line

Making Tax Digital (‘MTD’) was announced as the new initiative by HMRC to revolutionise and modernise the tax system in the UK.

MTD centres around keeping digital financial records that can then be accessed by software to calculate and submit taxes through to HMRC. The goal is that there will be direct ‘digital link’ between the financial record and the software used to calculate and submit the records and therefore ensuring an accuracy in the figures being generated.

With initial teething problems, MTD for VAT started back in April 2019, and as a result of various delays around Brexit & COVID-19, it still has not sailed out of its ‘soft-landing’ period.

On 21st July 2020 the Treasury published a 10-year plan to modernize the UK’s tax system which outlines a blueprint for the transition of the UK’s tax system into the digital age.

MTD for VAT

Introduced in April 2019, MTD for VAT had a soft-landing period where the rules for this ‘digital-link’ were relaxed.  Prior to COVID-19, April 2020 was the date stipulated where all digital links were to be in place for submissions.

As a direct consequence of COVID-19, it has been now been stated that as of 1st April 2021, the ‘soft-landing’ period comes to an end and all VAT registered businesses submitting VAT returns will need to ensure they have these digital links in place for their submissions.

Furthermore, from April 2022, MTD for VAT will apply to all VAT registered businesses and not just those that have a turnover greater than the VAT threshold.

MTD for Income Tax

The 10-year plan targets 6th April 2023 for self-employed businesses and unincorporated landlords to begin reporting Read more

Landlords & Property Investors Take Note: New Capital Gains Tax Rules for 2020

The new capital gains tax (CGT) rules will come into effect on April 2020, which will more than likely impact the sales of most additional properties in the UK.

CGT is paid on profits from the sale of investment properties that are not the sellers main place of residence. The amount of CGT paid is dependent on the annual income of the individual.  Current capital gains tax rates on property for 2019-2020 are 18% for basic rate taxpayers (£12,001-£50,000) and 28% for higher rate taxpayers (£50,001+).

The changes coming into effect in 04/2020 are threefold:

1. The timing of when you pay the CGT to HMRC
2. The amount of tax relief you can claim if you previously lived in the property
3. How the letting relief will work

Timing:
Previously a UK resident CGT has been calculated & submitted alongside their self assessment income tax irrespective of the completion date for the sale of the investment property. From April 2020, sellers will need to pay the full amount owed within 30-days of the completion of the sale and failure to pay within the 30-day limit will result in penalties.

Tax Relief:
The private residence relief (PRR) applies to landlords selling a property where in the past they have used that property as their main place of residence.

Currently, you are exempt from paying tax on the final 18-months that you owned the property, regardless of whether it was being rented. From April 2020 it is expected to be halved to 9-months.  So once you have not lived in a property that was once your main place of residence for longer than 9-months, you will probably be required to pay some CGT on the profits when it is sold.

Lettings Relief:
As a landlord, if you have qualified for PRR, then it may also be possible to claim lettings relief.

Letting relief can currently be claimed if you used to live in the property being sold, and have also let out part or all of it for residential accommodation.

You can claim the lowest of the following:
the same as the amount of PRR you will receive
£40,000
the chargeable gain you make from the period you let out the property

When the new rules come in from April 2020, you will only be able to claim this relief if you live there when it is being sold  (i.e if you share occupancy with your tenant).

Under current rules there are certain costs that can be deducted from your CGT:

  • Stamp duty paid on the purchase of the property
  • Estate agent fees
  • Solicitor fees
  • Improvement costs that added value to the property (such as extensions)
  • Qualifying buying and selling costs (such as surveyor fees)

Aside from this, capital gains tax is only payable on property that is owned by individuals. If the property is owned by a limited company, corporation tax is applied instead of CGT.

Corporation tax is currently 19%, but the current government hinted at a reduction to 17% for 20/21 but we await the confirmation from the Chancellor budget due in the Spring of 2020.

If you have any queries around CGT or need an accountant to calculate & submit your CGT, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We offer a free 20-minute consultation.

Holiday lettings: tax guide for landlords with furnished lets in the UK/EU

A Tax Guide for Landlords with Holiday Lets

Holiday lettings: tax guide for landlords with furnished lets in the UK/EU

Do you have a holiday cottage, flat or apartment that you rent out to holidaymakers? If so, our handy ‘Holiday lettings’ guide for landlords could be very useful to you — and it could save you money. It’s packed full of useful information and tax tips that will help you to make the most of your holiday property, at the same time as keeping on the right side of the tax man.

The Pros

We’ve written a section all about the tax breaks that apply to qualifying holiday lets. These include capital allowances for things you pay for when fitting out your holiday property, the tax treatment of expenses, the ability to pay pension contributions on your profits, several types of relief (some of which may affect your exposure to Capital Gains Tax) and small business rate relief.

The Cons

There’s also a section in the guide that covers some of the downsides to tax on holiday lettings. These include the need to get your VAT Registration status and charges right (where applicable) and also the tax treatment of any trading losses.

Qualifying Conditions

Lastly, there’s a section that outlines the qualifying conditions that apply if you want to treat your property as a holiday let rather than as an ordinary rental property. That’s important because different tax rules apply to each category and you could miss out on some excellent tax breaks if you don’t get it right. For example, the holiday rental property must be fully furnished and allow for self-catering holidays. Also, the property must be available for a particular number of days per year and be rented out in a particular way. It should not be occupied by the same tenant(s) for more than Read more

Capital Gains Tax Rule Changes for 2nd properties and property rentals

Second Property & Rented Property ‘Tax Trap’ for the Unwary

New Capital Gains Tax rules for 2nd properties and property rentals

Owners of second properties and let properties need to be aware that HMRC is planning to introduce new rules from 6 April 2020 to require payment of Capital Gains Tax much, much earlier! The window of payment will be reduced from 31 January following the year of the gain to a mere 30 days from the date of the sale.

Effectively, ‘in year’ reporting of the estimated gains – and payment of the tax – is mandatory under the new rules. Failure to report the gains and pay the tax will lead to penalties for landlords and second home owners.

You will only be able to offset losses accrued at the time of the disposal, so losses later in the year will not be available against the payment on account.

Summing Up:

  • If you make a capital gain in 2018/19 (before the new rules kick in) you will pay the capital gains tax on or by 31 January 2020.
  • For the sale of a house that is let, or a second property, with exchange of contracts occurring on, say, 15 April 2020 with completion happening on 15 May 2020, the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) has to be paid by 14 June 2020. This accelerates the payment of the tax to the Exchequer by 7 months.
  • So, perversely, the later year requires the Capital Gains Tax payment before the earlier year, as you can see above!

The other difficulty is knowing what rate to apply because a higher rate taxpayer has to pay 28% on a gain but a basic rate taxpayer has to pay tax at 18% up to the limit of the basic rate band that is unused. This is, of course, one situation where Taxfile can help to work out the tax implications for its customers. Tax calculations are what we do best and we’re here to help you!

Note that Scottish tax rates may vary.

HMRC is currently assessing feedback on their consultation, which closed on 6 June 2018.

If you believe this change of rules is wrong, one option is to write to your MP to complain.

Professional Help with Tax & Accountancy – for Landlords & More

For help with accountancy and tax for any property, lettings or any capital gains situation you may find yourself in, contact your nearest branch of Taxfile. We have London offices in Tulse Hill (SE21), Dulwich, Battersea (SW8) and another in the Exeter in the South West along with additional tax consultants in Carlisle in the North of England, Yorkshire in the North East, Poole/Dorset and Plymouth in the West Country. Call 0208 761 8000 for an introductory chat or appointment, contact us here or click the bold links for more information. We’ll be happy to help and to get your tax affairs in order.

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

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

Capital Allowances

As a business you can claim tax allowances, called capital allowances, on certain purchases or investments. This means you can deduct a proportion of these costs from your taxable profits and reduce your tax bill.
Capital allowances are available on plant and machinery, buildings – including converting space above commercial premises to flats for renting – and research and development.

Capital allowance on plant and machinery
You can claim capital allowances on:
• the cost of vans and cars
• machines
• scaffolding, ladders, tools, equipment
• computers and similar items you use in your business
• expenditure on plant and machinery
If you’re buying equipment, 25 % is the standard allowance for businesses each year. This will reduce to 20% from April 2008.
You can claim additional allowances in the first tax year after the expenditure was made. This is called first -year allowance. First-year allowances are a tax allowance you can claim on certain purchases or investments in the year you buy them.
Small businesses can claim first-year allowances of 50% for qualifying investments. Medium-sized businesses can claim 40%, and in certain circumstances both small and medium-sized businesses can claim allowances of 100 % (referred to by HMRC as Enhanced Capital Allowances for Energy-Saving Investments), in the year they make the purchase. However, for most plant and machinery, 25 % is the usual capital allowance. There are also allowances for investment in research and development.

Capital allowance on buildings
You can claim capital allowances on the cost of:
• constructing industrial or agricultural buildings, commercial buildings in enterprise zones, and certain types of hotel
• buying or constructing a building to use for a qualifying trade such as manufacturing or processing
• renovating or converting space above shops and other commercial premises to provide flats for rent – for example, money spent on building dividing walls or fitting a new kitchen
• converting or renovating unused business premises in a disadvantaged area on or after 11 April 2007
You cannot claim capital allowances on the cost of:
• houses, showrooms, offices and shops
• the land itself, such as buying the freehold of a property or acquiring a lease
• extensions, unless it provides access to qualifying flats
• developing adjacent land
• furnishing qualifying flats
The allowance for buying industrial and agricultural buildings is 4 %, in both the first and subsequent years. You can usually claim 100% of the cost of converting underused or vacant space above commercial property into flats or converting or renovating unused business premises in a disadvantaged area.
If you need to know more about capital allowances you can contact Taxfile‘s tax accountants in South London and they will make sure you make the best of your capital allowances in order to minimize your tax liability.