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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

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.

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.

Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Budget Statement, 22 November 2017

The Chancellor’s Autumn Budget 2017

This week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivered his Autumn Budget Statement to the House of Commons. View his full 1 hour speech in the official UK Parliament video below, which also includes a response from Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition:

The biggest news from this budget was the Stamp Duty announcement, wherein first time buyers buying a property up to £300,000 in value will no longer pay Stamp Duty at all (saving £5k), nor pay it on the first £300,000 of homes costing up to £500,000. Money man Martin Lewis gave his take on the proposed Stamp Duty changes and answered frequently asked questions pertaining to exactly what defines a first time buyer in an interview on Good Morning Britain yesterday — here is a 5 minute clip:

Other winners included

  • The Personal Allowance, which is the amount people can earn before they need to start paying income tax, is set to increase by £350 from £11,500 to £11,850 for those earning up to £100k per annum.
  • The National Living Wage (NLW) will increase from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour from April 2018. This will affect UK workers aged over 25.
  • The Chancellor promised investment of £160m in 5G mobile networks …
  • … and a total of £550m for electric cars.
  • He also set aside an additional £1.5 billion in Universal Credit to help those on benefits.
  • £40m was set aside for a teacher training fund for under-performing schools in England.
  • NHS England is to receive £2.8BN in investment (less, though, than the £4BN NHS bosses said is needed).
  • From April 2018, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is set to replace the Retail Price Index (RPI) as the inflation measure through which business rates will be calculated. It is anticipated that this change will save businesses £2.3BN in the first three years of the change.
  • The Chancellor also abolished the very unpopular staircase tax and promised that those affected to date by the staircase tax would see original rates reinstated. Revaluations will take place every three years (previously five) after the next scheduled revaluation in 2022.

Losers included:

  • The Chancellor revised down the growth forecasts for GDP, productivity growth and business investment.
  • £3BN was set aside for helping to combat Brexit challenges.
  • For second property owners, powers have been given to local authorities to charge a 100% council tax premium on empty houses. (See our note about those getting an income from property rental below).

If you have any questions about how the Autumn Budget might affect you, or any queries about any tax or accounting issues and requirements you may have, simply contact Taxfile on 0208 761 8000, send us a message here or book a 20 minute appointment online here and we’ll be happy to help. We also offer specific tax help and accounting for landlords so do get in touch if you would like to make sure you’re claiming no more and no less than you should if you’re getting an income from letting property.

Links to more detailed HMRC information about the Autumn Budget Statement can be read online here.

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.