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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.

Tax reforms coming in 2018

Big Changes Coming to the Tax System

Tax reforms coming in 2018

Starting on 1 April 2018, a brand new tax system, one that will affect most business owners in the UK, will begin to roll out. Whether you’re a landlord, are working for yourself as a sole trader or have a limited company, the changes will affect you.

So what’s happening?

Instead of a once-a-year tax return, HMRC will require quarterly profit and loss information. So, that’s four times a year. For Taxfile clients, that means we’ll need to know all your income and expenses during every quarter so that we can make the necessary financial data available, on your behalf, to HMRC. As well as your bank statements, we’ll need to see receipts for the expenses, whether they’re provided physically or via a suitable electronic medium (there are plenty of apps and software packages for this purpose). Once we have everything for the quarter in question, we will be able to make sure that you’re claiming for all the allowable expenses that you are eligible for and aren’t claiming for things that you shouldn’t, so that your figures are absolutely correct.

If you don’t file in time there could be an HMRC penalty, so letting Taxfile handle your quarterly reporting will help to keep you on track seamlessly when the new changes come into force. We’ll be able to confirm our own pricing nearer the time but it’s likely to be circa just £75 per quarter, excluding VAT.

A ‘cash basis’ system

The new tax system will be known as a ‘Cash Basis’ system and will also allow tax to be paid to HMRC on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) basis. Essentially, it means that businesses need only calculate their profits based on receipts and payments, which is far more straight forward than the more complex system that currently exists. When integrated into the Government’s new ‘digital tax accounts’, the system will really help to simplify tax, make budgeting and cash-flow easier through near real-time reporting and eventually remove the need for the traditional tax return at the end of the year — that’ll eventually be the case for virtually everyone. As an added bonus it’ll also mean that business owners keep more on top of their bookkeeping and thereby avoid a last minute scramble to update records. Taxpayers will also be able to see a complete financial picture of their tax affairs in the one place — their digital account — and all their liabilities and entitlements will be clear to see and manage more effectively than ever.

Taxfile

Nearer the time the changes come into place, Taxfile will be there to help its customers adapt to the new system and between us we’ll make sure that it’s easy and hassle-free. We’ll be able to 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

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.