Renting out a Room is a great way to earn some tax free cash and in the Summer Budget an increase in the tax free allowance was announced…
The government will increase the Rent-a-Room relief from £4,250 to £7,500 a year from April 2016. The value of this relief has been frozen since 1997, so this increase will allow individuals who rent a room in their main residence to do so tax free on income up to £7,500 to reflect increases in rent.
You can use the scheme if:
- you let a furnished room to a lodger
- your letting activity amounts to a trade, for example, if you run a guest house or bed and breakfast business, or provide services, such as meals and cleaning
You can’t use the scheme if the accommodation is:
- not part of your main home when you let it
- not furnished
- used as an office or for any business – you can use the scheme if your lodger works in your home in the evening or at weekends or is a student who is provided with study facilities
- in your UK home and is let while you live abroad
- the whole of your home, rather than a part of it
You can get further details in HS223
Finding a lodger shouldn’t be too difficult and websites like Spare Room can help.
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.