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The way landlords’ income is taxed is changing and landlords may already be seeing the effects of these recent tax changes, which are being phased in over three years, beginning 2017/18 tax period.

The key things you need to know:

  • Tax relief on mortgage interest payments is being removed and is being replaced with a 20% tax credit, effectively capping the relief at 20%.
  • If you are a basic rate taxpayer, this may simply be an accounting change, potentially costing more in professional fees but not impacting your profits.
  • If you are a higher or additional rate taxpayer, you could lose out. You will no longer be able to claim tax relief at the marginal rate, instead receiving a tax credit of just 20%, potentially impacting on your profits.
  • If you are a basic rate taxpayer on the verge of the higher rate tax bracket, you could find yourself pushed into a higher bracket due to the changes, thus increasing your tax bill and denting profits.
  • You could also be impacted by changes to the Wear and Tear Allowance. Instead of claiming relief on a nominal 10% of rental income, you can now only claim actual expenses.

For landlords thinking of adding properties to their portfolio, there are also new rules governing affordability and the information you will need to provide to get a mortgage. 

Each lender has their own criteria for affordability and the information required regarding your existing portfolio as well as your wider finances, could be more than you have supplied in the past.

Limited Company BT

Incorporating may be right for many landlords, but not for all.  It may be more beneficial if you are a higher rate or additional rate taxpayer.  As a limited company you don’t pay income tax on rental income, instead the limited company pays corporation tax (for latest information on Corporation tax rates, go to https://www.gov.uk/goverment  and search for Rates and allowances: Corporation Tax).

In addition, you can also offset mortgage interest, something that is restricted for individual landlords.  Other benefits include, more flexibility when changing ownership of properties.

On the down side, limited companies don’t enjoy the Capital Gains Tax personal allowance (currently £11,700) so you could pay more when you come to sell.  As a limited company, you will need to provide more in-depth accounts which are published at Companies House.

You must also be aware of the differences between setting up a limited company to purchase another investment property and transferring existing properties into one.  In the process of ‘transferring’ property to a limited company, you are effectively selling the property and the limited company is buying it.  This will trigger Stamp Duty liability and potentially Capital Gains Tax.

In addition, not all lenders offer limited company buy-to-let mortgages so you may be restricted to a smaller group of lenders when you want to add to your limited company portfolio.

Ultimately, the decision to buy through a limited company is yours and will depend on your current finances, properties and mortgages, as well as your exit strategy.  

It is important that you fully understand the implications of the all the changes impacting you as a landlord and you should seek advice from your accountant or an independent tax adviser.   

The purpose of this blog is to provide technical and generic guidance, and should not be interpreted as a personal recommendation or advice.  

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