Buy to Let interest relief tax saving ideas 3

To Let

Restriction of Mortgage Interest Tax Relief

The governments’ plan is to restrict individuals on claiming mortgage interest as a cost against their property investment income, for individuals it will work as follows

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 taxpayer 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.

What could a Property Investor do to reduce the impact of these changes?

Here are a few ideas….

  1. Pension Contributions – Pension Contributions currently receive tax relief at your rate of tax – 20% to 45% – so if you are a 40% tax payer you would need pay half the value of your 20% restricted interest into your pension to mitigate the extra tax
  2. Change of Use – would your Buy to Let be able to be converted to a Furnished Holiday Let? or anther type of commercial property on which the restriction won’t apply
  3. Increasing the Rent – Could you charge more to cover the extra tax?
  4. Spouse Income Tax Elections – If the property is jointly held HMRC assume a 50/50 split of the income but you can change that using Form 17 this might be useful if one of you is a basic rate taxpayer and the other a higher rate taxpayer
  5. Tax Deductible Expenses – Many landlords overlook expenses at the moment but they could become a lot more important, for example, use of your home, motor expenses, computers, travel and subsistence, phone costs etc

What do you plan to do when the changes take effect?

steve@bicknells.net

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Can a Residential Property Investor use Incorporation Tax Relief? 2

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There are many reasons why residential property investors are now rushing to incorporate, the biggest reason being the Restriction of Mortgage Interest Tax Relief.

Clause 24 of the Finance Bill sets out plans is to restrict individuals on claiming mortgage interest as a cost against their property investment income, for individuals it will work as follows

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 taxpayer 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.

When you sell or give a residential property to your Company you will incur Capital Gains Tax if you make a gain, its for this reason many investors and their advisers believe that they are ‘automatically’ entitled to claim Incorporation Tax Relief, but in many cases Incorporation Tax Relief will NOT be available!

In summary Incorporation Tax Relief allows Sole Traders to postpone/hold over a gain by transferring all their business assets into a limited company in return for Shares.

The key problem area is the Property Investment is generally not considered to be a Trade.

Some of the issues were resolved in 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. In summing up the Judge said…

Ramsay

 

If Mrs Ramsay had employed a Property Management Company or Letting Agent to do the work she would NOT have been able to claim ‘Incorporation Tax Relief’.

Most Buy to Let Landlords with one or two properties are Passive Investors who delegate all the responsibilities to professional letting agents, they will not be doing enough to comprise a business!

Steve@bicknells.net

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Have you heard of the new Personal Savings Allowance (PSA)? Reply

British piggy bank

From April 2016 the new Personal Savings Allowance (PSA) will start.

The PSA will apply to all non-ISA cash savings and current accounts, and will allow some savers to receive a generous portion of their interest totally free of tax.

Its expected that 95% of savings will no longer be taxed.

Basic rate taxpayers will receive £1,000 in savings income tax free, higher rate taxpayers get a band of £500 and additional rate tax payers get nothing.

The current TDSI (tax deduction scheme for interest) will stop.

 

PSA

steve@bicknells.net

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10 ways to pay less Property Tax (Investors) 3

Mosaïque de logements

Here are my top 10 ways that property investors can save tax

1 Property Investment Companies

  • Restriction of Mortgage Interest Tax Relief – this doesn’t apply to companies
  • Corporation Tax Rates – falling to 18% by 2020
  • Capital Gains Tax – Capital Gains Tax indexation
  • Stamp Duty – lower on share sales
  • Inheritance Tax (IHT) and Potentially Exempt Transfers planning – better with shares

Further details in our blog https://stevejbicknell.com/2015/08/24/5-reasons-why-you-need-a-property-investment-company/

2 Commercial Property should be in a Pension Scheme

Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) Schemes and Small Self Administered Schemes (SSAS) can invest in commercial property, no tax on the rental income, no capital gains, you only pay tax when you draw your pension.

You also get tax relief on money paid into your Pension.

3 Claim tax deductible expenses

Claim allowable expenses

  • Mortgage or Loan Interest (but not capital)
  • Repairs and maintenance (but not improvements)
  • Decorating
  • Gardening
  • Cleaning
  • Travel costs to and from your properties for lettings or meetings
  • Advertising costs
  • Agents fees
  • Buildings and contents insurance
  • Ground Rent
  • Accountants Fees
  • Rent insurance (if you claim the income will need to be declared)
  • Legal fees relating to eviction

If the property is furnished claim for Wear & Tear, you can claim 10% of the rent each year

Claim for repair and advertising expenses incurred in getting the property ready for renting

4 Use a Property Development Company to Save VAT

Property Development is a trade, where as Property Investment isn’t – renting out a residential property is a VAT exempt supply.

If you are planning significant building work, setting up a Development Company or using a building contractor might save VAT.

Assuming you employ a builder…

The VAT Rules are in VAT Notice 708 Buildings & Construction

Your builder may be able to charge you VAT at the reduced rate of 5 per cent if you are converting premises into:

  • a ‘single household dwelling’
  • a different number of ‘single household dwellings’
  • a ‘multiple occupancy dwelling’, such as bed-sits, or
  • premises intended for use solely for a ‘relevant residential purpose’

As your builder will be VAT registered, they reclaim the VAT they are charged and then charge you VAT at 5%.

If your business is property rental and you do the work yourself, you can’t take advantage of the 5% rate.

If your Development Company is VAT registered you can reclaim all the VAT.

Get your existing business or your property development company to convert the property and then sell it to another company that you own (may be an SPV)  will be a  VAT Zero Rated transaction. The other company then carries on the rental business.

5 Principle Private Residence Relief and Lettings Relief

Principle Private Residence Relief (PPR) is useful relief that saves you capital gains tax (18% for basic rate tax payers and 28% for higher rates tax payers) on your main residence.

You may also qualify for lettings relief after you have moved out.

6 Give away your Property in Stages

As long as the home you give away is your main home, Capital Gains Tax won’t be payable.

However, if you give away a second home, Capital Gains Tax may be payable if the property has increased in value between when you first owned it and when you gave it away.

If you sell your second home and give the money to your children, the gift won’t be included in your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes, provided you live for 7 years after you make the gift.

It is possible to to gift property in stages.

Your solicitor will draw up the required documents to conveyance a percentage of the property and register the transactions with the Land Registry.

In order to calculate the capital gain you will need to know the acquisition cost and any reliefs such as PPR.

Giving away your property in stages could save you from having to pay capital gains tax.

7 Claim Capital Allowances and Claim Tax Relief on Integral Features

FA2008 introduced a new classification of integral features of a building or structure, expenditure on the provision or replacement of which qualifies for WDAs at the 10% special rate. The new classification applies to qualifying expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2008 (CT) or 6 April 2008 (IT).

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/camanual/CA22300.htm

The rules on integral features apply where a person carrying on a qualifying activity incurs expenditure on the provision or replacement of an integral feature for the purposes of that qualifying activity. Each of the following is an integral feature of a building or structure –

  1. an electrical system (including a lighting system),
  2. a cold water system,
  3. a space or water heating system, a powered system of ventilation, air cooling or air purification, and any floor or ceiling comprised in such a system,
  4. a lift, an escalator or a moving walkway,
  5. external solar shading

Only assets that are on the list are integral features for PMA purposes; if an asset is not one of those included in the list, the integral features rules are not in point.

However, Plant and Machinery includes….

other building fixtures, such as shop fittings, kitchen and bathroom fittings

Many businesses have never claimed capital allowances for these items.

8 Consider Joint Ownership

If you own property personally you could double up your tax free Capital Gains Tax Allowance if you switch to owning property jointly with your spouse.

9 Check if you qualify for relief from ATED

Most residential properties (dwellings) are owned directly by individuals. But in some cases a dwelling may be owned by a company, a partnership with a corporate member or other collective investment vehicle. In these circumstances the dwelling is said to be ‘enveloped’ because the ownership sits within a corporate ‘wrapper’ or ‘envelope’.

ATED is a tax payable by companies on high value residential property (a dwelling).

There are reliefs that might lead to you not having to pay any ATED. You can only claim these by completing and sending an ATED return.

A dwelling might get relief from ATED if it is:

  • let to a third party on a commercial basis and isn’t, at any time, occupied (or available for occupation) by anyone connected with the owner
  • open to the public for at least 28 days per annum, if part of a property is occupied as a dwelling in connection with running the property as a commercial business open to the public, the whole property is treated as one dwelling and any relief will apply to the whole property
  • part of a property trading business and isn’t, at any time, occupied (or available for occupation) by anyone connected with the owner
  • part of a property developers trade where the dwelling is acquired as part of a property development business the property was purchased with the intention to re-develop and sell it on and isn’t, at any time, occupied (or available for occupation) by anyone connected with the owner
  • for the use of employees of the company, for the company’s commercial business and where the employee does not have an interest (directly or indirectly) in the company of more than 10%, the employee’s duties must not include services for any present or future occupation of the property by someone connected with the company, the relief is also available where a partner in a partnership does not have an interest of more than 10% in the partnership
  • a farmhouse, if it is occupied by a qualifying farm worker who farms the associated farmland, a former long-serving farm worker or their surviving spouse or civil partner
  • a dwelling acquired by a financial institution in the course of lending
  • owned by a provider of social housing

10 Take dividends this tax year

When you take dividends has never been more critical due to changes in the Summer Budget 2015, so if you have distributable reserves you might want to take more dividends this tax year, try our Dividend Calculator  to see how much difference it could make.

Dividend tax rates before April 2016

Tax band Effective dividend tax rate
Basic rate (20%) (and non-taxpayers) 0%
Higher rate (40%) 25%
Additional rate (45%) 30.56%

 

This will change from April 2016, see the table below

Dividend tax rates after April 2016

Tax band Effective dividend tax rate
Tax Free £5,000 0%
Basic Rate Tax Payers (20%) 7.5%
Higher Rate Tax Payers (40%) 32.5%
 Additional Rate Tax Payers (45%)  38.1%

 

The new rules are easier to follow, the 10% tax credit in the current rules is hard for most people to follow.

There is a Dividend Allowance factsheet which helps to explain how dividend tax will be calculated.

But be warned!

While these rates remain below the main rates of income tax, those who receive significant dividend income – for example due to very large shareholdings (typically more than £140,000) or as a result of receiving significant dividends through a closed company – will pay more.

So far we don’t know how much more!

steve@bicknells.net

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Why aren’t you claiming R&D Tax Credits? 2

Business people group.

R&D Relief is a Corporation Tax relief that may reduce your company or organisation’s tax bill.

Alternatively, if your company or organisation is small or medium-sized, you may be able to choose to receive a tax credit instead, by way of a cash sum paid by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

But your company or organisation can only claim R&D Relief if it’s liable for Corporation Tax.

The Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Scheme

This scheme has higher rates of relief. Since 1 April 2015, the tax relief on allowable R&D costs is 230% – that is, for each £100 of qualifying costs, your company or organisation could have the income on which Corporation Tax is paid reduced by an additional £130 on top of the £100 spent. It also includes a payable credit in some circumstances.

The Large Company Scheme

If your company isn’t small or medium-sized, then you can only claim under the Large Company Scheme.

Since 1 April 2008, the tax relief on allowable R&D costs is 130% – that is, for each £100 of qualifying costs, your company or organisation could have the income on which Corporation Tax is paid reduced by an additional £30 on top of the £100 spent. If instead there’s an allowable trading loss for the period, this can be increased by 30% of the qualifying R&D costs – £30 for each £100 spent. This loss can be carried forwards or back in the normal way.

Government Statistics show a steady growth in claims

R&D

Construction Examples of R&D

  • The investigation into the removal of contamination from sites, including land remediation
  • Advancements in structural techniques that aid construction relating to  unusual ground conditions
  • The innovative use of green or sustainable methods and technology
  • Development or adaptation of tools to improve efficiency
  • The use of new or unique materials, e.g. recycled products
  • Improvement on existing construction methods or development of new ideas to solve ongoing issues related to the site environment or project specifications
  • Innovative architectural design

IT Systems Examples of R&D

  • The design, construction and testing of systems, devices or processes e.g. new hardware or software components, digital interface and control systems
  • Integration of legacy and new systems e.g. following a corporate merger or acquisition, the adoption of an Enterprise Architecture or externally with partners in joint ventures
  • Advances in network management and operational tools, development of wired or wireless technologies, designing mobile and interactive services, evolution of new generation network switching and control systems
  • Data intensive activities e.g. the collection, storage and analysis, distribution and retrieval. Defining or working with new or emerging data models and metadata standards, integration with third party content

These examples and more are shown on the Cost Care Website

There are also examples by Industry on the Alma CG website

http://www.taxdonut.co.uk/blog/2014/12/beginners-guide-claiming-rd-tax-credits-infographic

These are the key questions that you will be asked when requesting an R&D Tax Credit from HMRC:

  1. How was it decided that R&D had taken place
  2. A description of the scientific & technological advance sought
  3. The uncertainties involved
  4. How and when the uncertainties were resolved
  5. Why the knowledge being sought was not readily deducible by a competent professional
  6. Were any grants, subsidies or contributions received for the project within the claim
  7. Who owns the Intellectual Property of the products resulting from the R&D
  8. Was the R&D carried out for others ie clients, this could mean your claim is rejected

This HMRC Spreadsheet will help you calculate your Claim

R&D Google

steve@bicknells.net

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5 reasons why you need a Property Investment Company! 9

Student house

There are many reasons why using a company to invest in residential property is good idea and Summer Budget 2015 made companies an even more attractive option.

1. Restriction of Mortgage Interest Tax Relief

Currently this is just a ‘Policy Paper’ but the plan is to restrict individuals on claiming mortgage interest as a cost against their property investment income, for individuals it will work as follows

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 taxpayer 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.

This link shows some worked examples – Mortgages for Business

Most investors will have multiple properties and high levels of borrowing.

Furnished Holiday Lets are excluded from the restriction – Official Policy

2. Corporation Tax Rates

The current rate of Corporation Tax is 20% but its falling year on year and by 2020 it will be 18%.

Not only that, its the same rate no matter how many companies you have, previously when there were multiple Corporation Rate if you had associated companies the small companies rate was reduce in a marginal rate calculation.

Individual tax rates are

Basic rate                             20% Up to £31,785
Higher rate                            40% £31,786 to £150,000
Additional rate 45% Over £150,001

3. Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gains Tax is at 20% in companies (falling to 18% by 2020) and companies are allowed to apply HMRC Indexation Allowance to offset the effect of inflation.

Capital gain - company

Individuals get an annual allowance of £11,100 and basic rate tax payers pay 18% with higher rate tax payers paying a massive 28% with no indexation.

There are special rules for UK Companies owned by Non UK Residents.

There is no rollover relief for companies or individuals investing in Residential Property because investment isn’t a trading activity.

4. Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty (SDLT) on selling Shares is 0.5%.

ExampleSo £1,995 × 0.5% = £9.97. This is rounded up to the nearest £5, which means you pay £10 Stamp Duty.

Stamp Duty on Property Sales is calculated as follows

• No stamp duty will be paid on the first £125,000 of a property
• 2% will be paid on the portion up to £250,000
• 5% is paid for the portion up to £925,000
• 10% is paid on the portion up to £1.5m
• 12% is paid on anything above that

HMRC have a calculator, here is link

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/tools/sdlt/land-and-property.htm

But you should also consider ATED (Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings) – more details in this blog – https://stevejbicknell.com/2014/09/12/more-tax-on-companies-owning-high-value-residential-property/

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

The 15% rate doesn’t apply to property bought by trustees of a settlement or bought by a company to be used for:

  • a property rental business
  • property developers and trader
  • property made available to the public
  • financial institutions acquiring property in the course of lending
  • property occupied by employees
  • farmhouses

The standard residential rate of SDLT applies in these cases. These exclusions are subject to specific conditions.

If 6 or more properties form part of a single transaction the rules, rates and thresholds for non-residential properties apply.

5. Inheritance Tax (IHT) and Potentially Exempt Transfers planning

One of the big benefits of Shares is that its easy to split ownership.

Potentially Exempt Transfers (PET’s) allow you to give away shares provided you survive more that 7 years after the transfer, shares make PETs easy and simple.

When you give away shares it will potentially trigger a capital gain but you will be able to use your personal capital gains allowance of £11,100 to offset this gain.

steve@bicknells.net

Is a Company the best way forward for Buy to Lets? Reply

Mosaïque de logements

The Summer Budget made this decision even more complicated!

First landlords have a lot to consider..

  1. Transferring their portfolio will probably incur Stamp Duty and Capital Gains
  2. Mortgages can be harder to find and more expensive for companies
  3. Share ownership options and objectives
  4. Company Admin, Accounts and Tax
  5. Capital Gains Allowances, ATED and IHT

But one key advantage is explained by Adrian Benosiglio, real estate tax partner at Baker Tilly (www.yourmoney.com)

For example, Mr Jones (a 45% taxpayer) has a house with net rental income of £100,000 and mortgage interest of £90,000. Currently he would pay £4,500 income tax on profits of £10,000.

From April 2020, he’ll pay £27,000* income tax. This is calculated by applying his marginal rate of tax to his rental income (£100,000 x 45%) which gives a tax liability of £45,000 and offsetting this with tax relief claimed on the mortgage interest at the lower amount of 20% (90,000 x 20%) which would give tax relief of £18,000. This would leave Mr Jones with a tax bill of £27,000 (£45,000 less £18,000). The end result would be an overall annual loss after tax of £17,000, with insufficient cash flow to make repayments on his loan.

A company is not affected by these measures and therefore would receive full mortgage interest relief. Additionally, corporation tax is charged at 20% and is due to fall to 18% in 2020. Using the above example, a company would pay £2,000 currently and £1,800 from 2020; leaving sufficient funds to make repayments.

Complicated isn’t it!

steve@bicknells.net

Is this the End of National Insurance? Reply

Pay Packet And Banknotes

You pay National Insurance contributions to qualify for certain benefits including the State Pension.

You pay National Insurance if you’re:

  • 16 or over
  • an employee earning above £155 a week
  • self-employed and making a profit of £5,965 or more a year

The Office of Tax Simplification is currently beginning a process of looking at merging National Insurance with Income Tax.

OTS NI TOR

ACCA’s head of tax Chas Roy-Chowdhury warned that an alignment of NI and income tax rates would be crucial prior to a merger taking place.

Whilst This is Money reported…

Middle and high earners could see their tax bills jump under radical plans to merge income tax and National Insurance, a tax expert has warned.

People taking home £50,000 a year could be £230 worse off, but low earners on £20,000 would save more than £530, and those on £30,000 would come out around £380 ahead, according to snap research by Tilney Bestinvest on the potential tax shake-up.

Chancellor George Osborne wants to reduce ‘complexity’ in the tax system to make it clearer exactly how much people have to cough up, and has ordered the Office of Tax Simplification to see if there is a case for change.

This change is also likely to lead to changes to Pension tax relief reform, Your Money reported…
The government has already announced a consultation on the pension tax relief system, and I believe that a merger of income tax and NI would likely result in the floated idea of a pension with ISA-like tax treatment. This is because at present, a basic rate taxpayer gets 20% tax relief on pension payments but surely this would increase to 32% under a combined system. It seems illogical to increase tax relief at a time when they are actually trying to reduce the cost to the Exchequer. An equal tax treatment of ISAs and pensions could be a prelude to merging the two, potentially drawing ISAs into some form of limetime allowance.
steve@bicknells.net

Would you give your staff a company motorbike? Reply

Extreme couple sitting by motorcycle. Adventure and travel

Motorbikes have a clear tax advantage over company cars because they are classified as plant and machinery. This is better for both employers and employees.

Capital Allowances are restricted on cars based on CO2 emissions and employees also get taxed on the benefit in kind based on CO2.

Motorbikes being plant and machinery aren’t restricted and you could use the Annual Investment Allowance to offset the cost.

The Benefit In Kind is assessed  as 20% of the cost of the motorbike but there will also be a benefit in kind on fuel, repairs and insurance.

The company will also have to pay 13.8% Class 1A NI on the benefit in kind but that applies to most benefits including cars and motorbikes.

Would motorbikes be a viable option for your employees?

steve@bicknells.net

Goodwill is not so good for tax Reply

Identity Theft

Until the Summer Budget 2015 when you purchased a business (not its shares) into a limited company from an unrelated party you could write off the goodwill (Intangibles) against your corporation tax but that has now changed and you can’t, another tax relief bites the dust!

The Policy Statement  reads as follows…

In accounting terms, purchased goodwill is the balancing figure between the purchase price of a business and the net value of the assets acquired. Goodwill can therefore be thought of as representing the value of a business’s reputation and customer relationships.
This measure removes the tax relief that is available when structuring a business acquisition as a business and asset purchase so that goodwill can be recognised. This advantage is not generally available to companies who purchase the shares of the target company. The current rules allow corporation tax profits to be reduced following a merger or acquisition of business assets and can distort commercial practices and lead to manipulation and avoidance. Removing the relief brings the UK regime in line with other major economies,reduces distortion and levels the playing field for merger and acquisition transactions.
Intangibles acquired before 8 July 2015 will continue to be treated under the old rules, so a corporation tax deduction will continue to be available for amortisation, and any loss on disposal will be treated as part of the company’s trading profit or loss for the year of disposal.
steve@bicknells.net