During October to December 2016, 69% of all new Buy to Let purchase applications were made by Limited Companies according to Mortgages for Business.
The percentage of remortgage applications in company names also increase to 31% in Q4 up from 23% in Q3 last year.
The total number of lenders offering Buy to Let finance to limited companies remained stable at 14 and the total number of products available rose slightly from 195 in Q3 to 198 in Q4.
This is despite the fact that lenders are still charging higher rates of interest for companies, often 1% extra.
I think lenders will very soon be forced to bring rates into line as competition amongst lenders increases.
The main driver has been the Restriction of Mortgage Interest Tax Relief
2017/18 75% of the interest can be claimed in full and 25% will get relief at 20%
2018/19 50% of the interest can be claimed in full and 50% will get relief at 20%
2019/20 25% of the interest can be claimed in full and 75% will get relief at 20%
2020/21 100% will get only 20% relief
For a 20% tax payer that’s fine but for higher rate taxpayers its a disaster that will lead to them paying a lot more tax
These rules will not apply to Companies, Companies will continue to claim full relief.
Companies have many other advantages too:
- Stamp Duty on Shares is 0.5% so if you own each property in a separate company you can sell the shares rather than selling the company
- Holding properties in separate companies makes it easier for lender to take a charge over the business assets
- Companies are better for Inheritance Tax Planning enabling the company shares to be given away in stages
- Corporation tax is 20% and falling which means if you want to grow you portfolio you will retain more of the profit for re-investment
Companies have to be the way forward for investors.
Ask your accountant!
It makes a big difference to your tax whether you can offset costs as revenue expenditure or remove costs because they are capital expenditure
HMRC published a guide on this in September 2016 and have circulated in in their Agent Alert Self Assessment Special January 2016.
The Toolkit is really useful and covers lots of problem areas:
- Acquisition, improvement and alterations to assets – highly relevant to property investors
- Legal and Professional – including how to handle unsuccessful property purchases – which are a capital cost – and Business Owner Training Costs
- Finance Costs
- IT Costs – including websites
- Intangible assets – such as Goodwill
This question comes up a lot, the definitive answer is in the HMRC pension manual…
Property converted or adapted as residential property
The definition of residential property is a building or structure that is used or suitable for use as a dwelling. It does not therefore apply to property, including land, which is not residential property when the investment-regulated pension scheme acquires it. But the building or structure may become residential property whilst owned by the pension scheme as a result of being subsequently subject to development.
Whilst it is in the course of construction, conversion or adaptation such land and property is not residential property because during that period it is not suitable for use as a dwelling.
Land and buildings being converted are treated as residential property from the point when they become suitable for use as a dwelling.
In any specific case this point should be determined by taking a common sense approach to the facts and circumstances.
Essentially the question to be answered is: would a person normally live in that dwelling?
The point at which this occurs will normally be when the works are substantially completed. In the case of UK property this is likely to be when the certificate of habitation is issued.
A property that is sold before the development or conversion is substantially completed never becomes residential property.
With the introduction of interest rate restrictions from 2017/18 for individual Property Investors there has been a lot of interest in incorporating property businesses.
Technically property investment isn’t a business although HMRC seem to have blurred the lines with their Making Tax Digital documents which describe Property Investment as a Business.
The recent clarification from the Ramsay case has meant that even investors with a small portfolio are likely to qualify for incorporation tax relief provided the landlord is sufficiently active in managing their properties. Claiming Incorporation Tax Relief rolls forward the capital gain into the company.
So that leaves SDLT and re-financing costs as the next major hurdles.
The rules on SDLT for Partnerships are in the Finance Act 2003 Schedule 15 and amendments in the Finance Act 2006 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.
To qualify as a Partnership or LLP:
- You need to be registered with HMRC
- You need a partnership agreement
- You need separate bank accounts
- Leases and Agreements need to be in the name of partnership
HMRC also require that any restructuring is for Commercial Reasons and not to avoid tax, otherwise it will be caught by anti tax avoidance rules.
If your business doesn’t have a blog, I recommend that you start one in 2017.
The key reasons why you need a blog are:
- It helps you and your business to become the ‘go to expert’
- It massively increases inbound traffic and raises your social media profile
- Its an opportunity to give back and to help your audience resolve common problems