Can you get the company to buy your solar panels?

aerial view of two houses with roof tiles

At the moment the UK like other countries is in the depth of an energy crisis, mainly caused by the price of gas and lack of gas supplies.

Energy prices are higher than they have ever been, even with potential government intervention the costs will still be high. On top of that we have climate change, if we are to avoid climate disasters, we need to use renewable energy, such as Solar.

There has never been a better time to make your home more energy efficient.

Solar Panels and Batteries could mean you could become close to self-sufficient for energy, harnessing sunlight in the daytime, storing it in batteries and using it at night.

What if your company purchased a solar system for your home as benefit in kind, what would the tax be?

VAT

From 1 April 2022 until 31 March 2027 a zero rate applies to the installation of certain specified energy-saving materials in, or in the curtilage, of residential accommodation in Great Britain 

Energy-saving materials and heating equipment (VAT Notice 708/6) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

It makes no difference whether your company purchases the system or whether an individual purchases it.

Solar panels include all systems that are installed in, or on the site of, a building and that are:

  • solar collectors such as evacuated tube or flat plate systems, together with associated pipework and equipment, such as circulation systems, pump, storage cylinder, control panel and heat exchanger
  • photovoltaic (PV) panels with cabling, control panel and AC/DC inverter

Capital Allowances

Expenditure on solar panels is special rate expenditure on the basis they are integral features of buildings or structures.

Integral features expenditure can also qualify for AIA, they do not unfortunately qualify for the super deduction (must also be a company to qualify for the super deduction).

https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/capital-allowances-manual/ca22335

To qualify for the allowance the conditions at S33A (1) and (2) etc must be met, please see the link below

EXPENDITURE ON INTEGRAL FEATURES (s. 33A) | Croner-i Tax and Accounting (croneri.co.uk)

Ownership of the property is not a requirement to qualify however the person that incurs the expenditure must own the P&M because of incurring it.

Benefit In Kind

As an employee, with the use of a company assets comes a chargeable BIK. The basic calculation is 20% of market value when first available less any unavailability and any contribution. 

Example – Solar Panel System Cost = £16,000 x 20% BIK = £3,200 BIK on which the tax is 20% = £640 per year or 40% = £1,280 per year in addition to the tax there is also Class 1A NI at 13.8% (£441.60), but the overall costs is still below the energy cap of £3,500 and even below the Governments suggested cap of £2,500.

In our particular case we have electric cars and work from home and use significantly more than the average levels.

The benefit in kind is reported in section L (assets placed at the disposal of the employee) of the P11D.

https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/employment-income-manual/eim21873

steve@bicknells.net

When does the Corporate Bodies 15% SDLT Rate Apply?

modern building against sky

Most people aren’t aware of the 15% which can apply to corporate property purchases over £500k and expect to pay the rates below (these are the rates with the extra 3%)

Property or lease premium or transfer valueSDLT rate
Up to £125,0003%
The next £125,000 (the portion from £125,001 to £250,000)5%
The next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000)8%
The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)13%
The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)15%

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is charged at 15% on residential properties costing more than £500,000 bought by certain corporate bodies or ‘non-natural persons’. These include:

  • companies
  • partnerships including companies
  • collective investment schemes

These bodies may also need to pay Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings.

Relief from the 15% higher rate charge

The 15% rate does not apply to property bought by a company that is acting as a trustee of a settlement or bought by a company to be used for:

  • a property rental business
  • property developers and traders

FA03/S55/SCH4A: property rental businesses FA03/SCH4A/PARA5

Where the acquisition of a chargeable interest is exclusively for the purpose of exploitation as a source of rents or other receipts in the course of a qualifying property rental business, the 15% higher rate charge will not apply to the transaction. Instead, SDLT will be charged at the higher rates (the ones with the extra 3% in the table above) – see SDLTM09835 for more information on companies and the higher rates.

To qualify as a qualifying property rental business, the business must meet two conditions:-

  • it must be a property rental business as defined in Chapter 2 of Part 4, CTA 2009 (excluding the condition that the profits are chargeable to corporation tax – see PIM1020 onwards for more information), and
  • it must be carried on a commercial basis and with a view to a profit.

https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/stamp-duty-land-tax-manual/sdltm09555

This relief may be withdrawn in certain circumstances:-

https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/stamp-duty-land-tax-manual/sdltm09660

So thankfully most companies won’t have to pay 15% but this has been a source of confusion for some clients.

steve@bicknells.net

Don’t buy a holiday let in a company if you want stay in it!

interior of contemporary house on lake on cloudy day

Generally companies are great because corporation tax rates are lower than income tax rates, however, for Holiday Lets company ownership can be a problem if you have personal use for the following reasons (of course if you don’t want to stay there these don’t apply):

ATED

ATED is an annual tax payable mainly by companies that own UK residential property valued at more than £500,000.

You’ll need to complete an ATED return if your property:

  • is a dwelling — find out the meaning of ‘dwelling’ in the next section
  • is in the UK
  • was valued at more than:
    • £2 million (for returns from 2013 to 2014 onwards)
    • £1 million (for returns from 2015 to 2016 onwards)
    • £500,000 (for returns from 2016 to 2017 onwards)
  • is owned completely or partly by a:
    • company
    • partnership where any of the partners is a company
    • ­collective investment scheme — for example a unit trust or an open ended investment vehicle

Chargeable amounts for 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023

Property valueAnnual charge
More than £500,000 up to £1 million£3,800
More than £1 million up to £2 million£7,700
More than £2 million up to £5 million£26,050
More than £5 million up to £10 million£60,900
More than £10 million up to £20 million£122,250
More than £20 million£244,750

Benefit in Kind

Here is an example from HMRC

A UK company purchases a flat in a French ski resort for £200,000. It is agreed that a market rental for the property would be £500 per week during the 6 month skiing season and £100 per week during the rest of the year. A husband and wife who are both directors of the company use the flat for holidays with their children for 3 weeks during the ski season and one week in the rest of the year. Their children are neither employees nor directors of the company. The employer advises that the sole reason the property was bought was as a holiday home for the husband and wife. It has only been used by them as a holiday home.

We would argue in this case that provided is equivalent to available for use. Assuming that the flat was habitable for the whole of the year we would seek a benefit under Part 3 Chapter 5 measured on availability for the whole of the year. The employer may argue that the husband and wife work full time and that this prevents them using the flat for more than the 4 weeks in the year of actual use and so they are effectively only provided with it for 4 weeks. We do not accept that argument.

If the cost of the accommodation exceeds £75,000, then the amount of the cash equivalent would be calculated in accordance with Section 106 ITEPA 2003 (see EIM11472). As the annual value is based on the open market rental, under ESC A91 the cash equivalent of the benefit is restricted to step 1 of Section 106. This would mean that the cash equivalent for the tax year would be £15,600 (£500 x 26 + £100 x 26). Under Section 108 that would be split between the husband and wife in whatever way was just and reasonable, presumably half each in this case (see EIM11472).

The amount of the benefit under section 106 is:

•Step 1 – the cash equivalent as if section 105 ITEPA 2003 applied (see EIM11431)

•Step 2 – ORI × (C – £75,000) (this amount is called the additional yearly rent), where:

•C is the cost of providing the living accommodation (see point three above) and

•ORI is the official rate of interest

•Step 3 – calculate the rent that would have been payable if the property had been let for the taxable period at that additional yearly rent (see EIM11428 for taxable period)

•Step 4 – add together the amounts calculated under step 1 and step 3. From this total subtract any excess rent paid by the employee. The answer is the amount of the benefit.

FLM Indicator have a calculator to work this out if you need it.

What would be the tax if its personally owned?

If the property is owned personally then a SA105 Box 10 Private Use Adjustment is made, this excludes a % of the property costs for the period of private use. If you only stay there for a short period its going to be a much lower cost.

steve@bicknells.net

Main and Special Rate Capital Allowances – how do you clear the pools down?

high rise building with green glass windows

When Capital Allowances are assessed on commercial property and holiday lets they will be split into 3 categories. We use specialists to make the assessments and they are able to maximise the claims. The categories are:

Annual Investment Allowance

You can only claim AIA in the period you bought the item.

The date you bought it is:

  • when you signed the contract, if payment is due within less than 4 months
  • when payment’s due, if it’s due more than 4 months later

If you buy something under a hire purchase contract you can claim for the payments you have not made yet when you start using the item. You cannot claim on the interest payments.

Since 2019 the AIA has been capped at £1m but that’s more than enough for most businesses.

AIA is not available for partnerships where one of the partners is a company or another partnership.

Main Rate and Special Rate Pools

The 3 types of pool are the:

  • main pool with a rate of 18%
  • special rate pool with a rate of 6%
  • single asset pools with a rate of 18% or 6% depending on the item

Special rate pool

You can claim a lower rate of 6% on:

  • parts of a building considered integral – known as ‘integral features’
  • items with a long life
  • thermal insulation of buildings

Integral features

Integral features are:

  • lifts, escalators and moving walkways
  • space and water heating systems
  • air-conditioning and air cooling systems
  • hot and cold water systems (but not toilet and kitchen facilities)
  • electrical systems, including lighting systems
  • external solar shading

What happens to the Pools if the Asset is disposed of?

The main and special rate pools will continue to qualify for WDAs until the business ceases, even though all the assets in the pool have been sold, transferred or scrapped. When the business ceases there will be a balancing adjustment. This will be either a balancing charge, i.e. taxable amount, if proceeds received for the assets (or their market value if they are not sold) exceed the value of the pool, or a balancing allowance, i.e. extra tax deduction, if the proceeds (or value) are less than the value of the pool. (Indicator FLM)

So you carry on taking 18% or 6% WDA until the business ceases.

If the property is being sold or has been sold and the company is to be wound up, then a balancing allowance of the CA pools can be received in the final accounting period.  Usually, there will be a value attributed to capital allowances via the s198 election in the contract.

steve@bicknells.net

How do you create a Group using Share Exchange/Swap? Why is it done?

photo of man holding pen

Share for Share exchange is often used when you are re-organising or creating a group and benefits from tax relief.

Basically if you don’t do a share exchange you would need to sell the shares at market value creating both Capital Gains and Stamp Duty costs.

In order to do a Share exchange you must have bona fide commercial reasons for doing it and it can’t be just to avoid tax. So for example you might want to create a group in order to separate trading and investment activities and enable an investment company to obtain mortgage finance (most lenders probably would not lend to a single company doing both trading and investment in the same company as it puts the investment at risk).

Why?

Here is a common scenario, a developer buys a commercial property to develop into residential and sell, but when the project completes the market conditions have changed they want to keep the residential properties and rent them out.

During the development they will have reclaimed VAT and the first grant of residential is Zero Rated, so they get full recovery. An investor would not get this.

So to avoid partial exemption for VAT its best to move to a new company and there are bona fide Commercial Reasons too as previously noted.

Although the reclassification to investment will create a profit and tax charge a group structure will provide Group SDLT relief. See these blogs for details.

What if you move a Property from Fixed Asset Investment to Trading Stock or Vice Versa? Appropriations and Reclassifaction – Steve J Bicknell Tel 01202 025252

Do you pay SDLT on Properties Transfers within a Group? – Steve J Bicknell Tel 01202 025252

How?

The process basically has 4 stages.

Stage 1 – Form the new companies

Assuming you are now creating a new Holding Company with a New Investment Company, these need to be formed first.

Stage 2 – HMRC Clearance

Its not mandatory but it is best practice How to apply for clearance or approval of a transaction from HMRC – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

To get clearance you need to write a letter to HMRC setting out all the facts, the group structure and the commercial reasons, typically the letter is 6 to 10 pages long.

You can request advance clearances by sending an email to reconstructions@hmrc.gov.uk. You do not need to send a paper copy.

Attachments should be no larger than 2MB. Do not send self-extracting zip files as HMRC software will block them.

If possible we would like to reply by email, but we need your permission to do so by including the following statement:

‘I confirm that our client understands and accepts the risks associated with email and that they are happy for you to send information concerning their business or personal details to us by email. I also confirm that HMRC can send emails to the following address (or addresses)….’

If you’re making the application on behalf of yourself or your company adapt this wording as necessary.

Stage 3 – The Contract

This is normally done by a solicitor.

The contract deals with the acquiring company and the shareholders of the target company under which the shares are to be acquired with the consideration being shares in the acquiring company.

Stage 4 – Stamp Duty Relief

As the acquiring company is paying consideration for the shares (the issue of its own shares), then the transaction is subject to Stamp Duty. However, relief can be claimed under s77 FA 1986 if the conditions are met and the anti-avoidance rule of s77A FA 1986 does not apply. HMRC guidance is at STSM042000 starting at STSM042410. After the conditions have been checked and a claim prepared, see “How to Claim Relief” on GOV.UK. The claim needs to be made within 30 days of the contract date and, as HMRC outline, various information will need to be attached to the e-mail claim including the stock transfer form.

steve@bicknells.net

Can I just move my Buy to Let into a partnership and then incorporate?

If you have a large portfolio (because that could be seen as business) then this might be possible but not if you only have a single property (or if its a small portfolio).

Forming a partnership has been seen as milestone on the route to incorporation, incorporation will mean that Section 24 interest restrictions don’t apply, which can save substantial amounts of tax.

Incorporation Tax Relief

The Ramsey case set out a basis for incorporation tax

EM Ramsay v HMRC [2013] UKUT 0226 (TCC)

Mrs Ramsey carried out the following activities

  1. Mr & Mrs Ramsey personally met potential tenants
  2. Mrs Ramsey check the quarterly electric bills
  3. Mrs Ramsey arranged insurance
  4. Mrs Ramsey arranged and attended to maintenance issues (drains)
  5. Mrs Ramsey and her son maintained the garages and cleared rubbish
  6. Mrs Ramsey dealt with post
  7. Mrs Ramsey dealt with fire regulation issues
  8. Mrs Ramsey arranged for a fence to be erected
  9. Mrs Ramsey created a flower bed
  10. Shrubs were pruned and leaves swept
  11. The parking area was cleared of weeds
  12. The flag stones were bleached
  13. Communal areas were vacuumed
  14. Security checks were carried out
  15. She took rubbish to tip
  16. She cleaned vacant flats
  17. she helped elderly tenants with utilities

This work equated to at least 20 hours per week and Mrs Ramsey had no other employment.

It is because she did the work herself that her property investment was considered a ‘Business’ and eligible for Incorporation Tax Relief.

SDLT

Partnerships have special rules on SDLT relating to incorporation.

The rules on SDLT for Partnerships are in the Finance Act 2003 Schedule 15 and amendments in the Finance Act 2006 Schedule 24.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/14/schedule/15

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/25/schedule/24

It is complicated but essentially it comes down to the following formulae

MV x (100 – sum of lower proportions (SLP))%

What this means is that if the land being put into the partnership is effectively retained by the transferor-partner (or persons connected with the transferor) after the transaction, you basically end up with:

MV x (100-100) = £0

So a husband and wife partnership owning 50% each could transfer the property to a company for 50% of the shares each and in theory there would be no SDLT charge.

What’s the problem for small portfolios

Take a look this tax question of the week My VIP Tax Team question of the week: Finance Costs Restriction (cronertaxwise.com)

Two of my clients, a married couple, have jointly held residential investment property. The husband is a higher rate taxpayer and the wife is a basic rate taxpayer and they would like to change the allocation of the property income. They do not want to change their 50/50 capital interest so have decided to form a general partnership to take advantage of exception C within ITA 2007 S836 to the assumption they are beneficially entitled to the income in equal shares. Their property portfolio is mortgaged. As the husband has income from other sources, he has fully utilised relief for all finance costs attributed to him. The wife has cumulative unrelieved finance costs, due to her personal allowance mitigating her tax liability on the property income. Can those unrelieved finance costs be carried forward and relieved against tax liabilities on property income from the partnership?

Alexandra Fielding – Croner 4/5/22

There are two issues you raise which need to be addressed.

The first is the formation of a partnership to enable more of the property income to be allocated to the wife.

Although, as you say, a partnership means the assumed 50/50 income entitlement of s836 ITA 2007 does not apply, this is not the end of the matter. A non-commercial allocation of profits within a partnership is still within the settlement legislation of s624 ITTOIA 2005 and can apply to all partnerships and LLPs. This is a view confirmed by HMRC at TSEM4215.

The allocation of more of the profits to the wife without a corresponding increase in her share of partnership equity simply to avoid income tax would be caught by the settlement legislation. The exception in s626 ITTOIA 2005 for transfers between spouse/civil partners would not apply as this would be “wholly or substantially a right to income” without a corresponding transfer of partnership equity. If the couple’s particular rental properties require personal involvement of time and effort and such work is only carried out by the wife, or most of it is carried out by the wife, then it may be possible to commercially justify a greater share of the partnership profits to be allocated to the wife. How much would depend on the time spent and the nature of the work undertaken.

I would add that whether the particular rental properties constitute a “business” that meets the requirements of the Partnership Act 1890 depends on the facts involved. Although not an issue actively pursued by HMRC at the moment, there is a published view from HMRC at PM131800 which states:

The letting of jointly owned property does not normally constitute a partnership. Most cases will fall short of the degree of business organisation needed to constitute a business. The provision of significant additional services in return for payment may be an indicator of such business organisation.

The second issue relates to the unrelieved finance costs.

The rules to determine the entitlement to relief of non-deductible costs of a dwelling-related loan for an individual are contained within ITTOIA 2005 S274A and S274AA. Section 274A(3) tells us the relievable amount for a tax year is the total of the individual’s current-year restricted finance costs (if any) for that year in respect of that business and the unrelieved individual’s brought-forward restricted finance costs (if any) for that year in respect of that business.

The legislation restricts the tax reduction for finance costs so that a reduction can only be made against the income tax liability on the same property business to which the finance costs relate.

Although the properties and the individuals carrying on the letting activities will remain the same after the partnership is formed, for income tax purposes the partnership property business is a separate property business to that previously carried on by the individuals (ITTOIA 2005 S859(2)). This rule pre-dates the finance costs restriction and is covered by HMRC at PIM1030.

Therefore, unrelieved dwelling-related loan costs accumulated by the wife will be lost on the formation of the general partnership.

Whilst the wife’s only source of income is property income, she may continue to accumulate unrelieved finance costs. Your clients may want to consider allocating more of the underlying ownership of the property to the wife or transferring other income producing assets to utilise her personal allowance to maximise finance cost tax reductions.

Form 17 – Joint Ownership Proportions

For jointly owned property Form 17 and Declarations of Trust can be used to change the split of ownership.

When you make a declaration it must apply equally to ownership and income and a couple must be married or civil partners, you can’t be separated or divorced or joint tenants.

Form 17 is used to make the declaration

You can use this form to declare a beneficial interest if you hold property jointly and:

• you actually own the property in unequal shares, and

• you are entitled to the income arising in proportion to those shares, and

• you want to be taxed on that basis.

Form 17 must be submitted with in 60 days of completion, in addition a Declaration of Trust is likely to be required.

If there is a change, even a minor change, after submitting the Form 17 it will be invalid and revert to 50/50.

If the property is held in a single name it may be possible to use a declaration of trust to confirm joint beneficial interest.

Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax will be be based on the beneficial interest in the property, so if one spouse is a higher rate tax payer and the other a lower rate tax payer changing the proportion of ownership could have a significant tax advantage.

steve@bicknells.net

Can I claim a Grant?

The first GOV.UK release of the Find a Grant pilot is now open – for everyone

Now, it doesn’t have every government grant on it – yet.  We have started with 26 schemes so that we can co-create, test and develop – and keep on co-creating, testing and developing between now and March 2023. And, we are working across government to get more grants added during this pilot phase.  

But, if you like it – and it works – this time next year we will make the case, on your behalf, to have it rolled out across government.

The first GOV.UK release of the Find a Grant pilot is now open – for everyone – Government Grants Community (blog.gov.uk)

26 grants is start there will be lots more added so it worth book marking the page Home – Find a grant (find-government-grants.service.gov.uk)

steve@bicknells.net

VAT Construction Reverse Charge – what does the Subcontractor Invoice need to look like?

laughing male constructor showing thumb up at working desk

For VAT reverse charge to apply the subcontractor must be able to answer these questions

  1. Is the work being done a construction activity (CIS340)
  2. Are both the Subcontractor and Contractor registered for VAT (and the VAT rate isn’t Zero) and CIS
  3. Does the contractor have an onward supply for Construction Services (in other words they aren’t the end user or an intermediary)

Assuming the answer to all 3 questions is YES then VAT reverse charge will apply and the subcontractors invoice need to look like this one.

Under the VAT Regulations 1995 invoices for domestic reverse charge supplies, when the customer is liable for the VAT, must include the reference ‘reverse charge’. The following examples fulfill the legal requirement:

•Reverse charge: VAT Act 1994 Section 55A applies

•Reverse charge: S55A VATA 94 applies

•Reverse charge: Customer to pay the VAT to HMRC  

The Subcontractors VAT return will look this.

All the major software providers have this covered for you, for example on Sage Accounting you just need to tick a box on Customers Account Settings.

steve@bicknells.net