Rent a Room – What if Rent exceeds £7,500? Reply

Many people think that Rent a Room is a tax free allowance, a bit like the personal allowance, but its not quite as simple as that.

If your total rent from a room in your home is less than £7,500 then that’s fine, but if your rent is above £7,500 these rules will apply

3.2 If your gross receipts are more than the Rent-a-Room limit

If your gross receipts are more than £7,500 (or £3,750), you can choose how you want to work out your tax:

Method A

You pay tax on your actual profit – your total receipts less any expenses and capital allowances.

Method B

You pay tax on your gross receipts over the Rent-a-Room limit – that is, your gross receipts minus £7,500 (or £3,750). You can’t deduct any expenses or capital allowances if you choose this method.

HMRC will automatically use your actual profit (Method A) to work out your tax.

If you want to pay tax using Method B, you need to tell HMRC within the time limit. You will continue to pay tax on your gross receipts over the Rent-a-Room limit until you tell HMRC that you want to change back to paying tax on your actual profit (Method A).

If you pay tax using Method B, this automatically stops if your rental income drops below the £7,500 (or £3,750) limit.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rent-a-room-for-traders-hs223-self-assessment-helpsheet/hs223-rent-a-room-scheme-2017

So in most cases if you have rent above £7,500 you probably won’t want to claim Rent a Room because you will not be able to offset any expenses!

steve@bicknells.net

Can my Staff have tax free living accommodation? Reply

Emergency Mobile Application

In general providing living accommodation to employees is treated as a taxable benefit in kind with the benefit value based on the cash equivalent.
accommodation value
The main occupations which satisfy the rules for exemption are:
• agricultural workers living on farms or agricultural estates
• lock-gate and level crossing gatekeepers
•caretakers who live on the premises for which they are responsible where
they are on call outside normal working hours
•stewards and greenkeepers who live on the premises they look after
•managers of public houses who live on the premises
•wardens of sheltered housing who live on the premises where they are on
call outside normal working hours
•police officers and Ministry of Defence police
•prison governors, officers and chaplains
•clergymen and ministers of religion, unless engaged on administrative
duties only
•members of HM Forces
•members of the Diplomatic Service
•managers of newspaper shops that have paper rounds
•managers of traditional off-licences, that is, those with opening hours
equivalent to a public house
•in boarding schools where staff are provided with accommodation on
or near the school premises – the head teacher, other teachers with pastoral
or other irregular contractual responsibilities outside normal school hours
(for example, housemaster), bursar, matron, nurse and doctor
•veterinary surgeons who live close to the practice in order to respond
regularly to emergency calls
•managers of camping and caravan sites living on, or near to, the premises
•stable staff of racehorse trainers, who live on the premises and certain key
workers who live close to the stables.

The Test

Basically the test is based on ‘necessary’ and ‘customary’ https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/employment-income-manual/eim11300

The test is only satisfied where the employee can demonstrate that occupation of the particular property (as opposed to any other property) is essential to the proper performance of the duties of the employment.

Support for this view can be derived from Langley and Others v Appleby (53TC1), in which Fox J said at page 21
“if it is asserted that it is essential for the servant to occupy the house in order to perform his duties, it seems to me that the servant must establish affirmatively that for the performance of his duties he must live in that house and no other.”
The words “that house and no other” emphasise the strict nature of the test.

An employee may claim that it is necessary to occupy a particular residence because the employer requires the employee to live there. This is not enough to satisfy the test. It must be shown that the duties of the employment require occupation of the residence. An argument that the employee cannot afford to live elsewhere is not sufficient, see Vertigan v Brady (60TC624).

Rent Allowances and Deductions

It is common for an employee to:

  • own the property he lives in, or
  • rent the property from a third party, not his employer.

In both cases the employer may pay the employee extra salary or a rent allowance to help with the accommodation costs. This extra salary or rent allowance will count as earnings under Section 62 ITEPA 2003

An employer may own or rent accommodation and provide it to an employee. If the employee is entitled to a fixed wage or salary from which sums are deducted by the employer in respect of the accommodation then the fixed wage or salary is earnings under Section 62 ITEPA 2003. No deduction is allowed from earnings for the deductions made by the employer. See Cordy v Gordon (9TC304) and Machon v McLoughlin (11TC83)

 

steve@bicknells.net

Rent a Room and earn £7,500 tax free 1

Fotolia_45741373_XS cash

The Rent a Room Scheme lets you earn up to a threshold of £7,500 per year tax-free from letting out furnished accommodation in your home. This is halved if you share the income with your partner or someone else.

You can let out a room or an entire floor.

How it works

The tax exemption is automatic if you earn less than the threshold. This means you don’t need to do anything.

You must complete a tax return if you earn more than the threshold. From 6 April 2016, this is £7,500. For the 2015 to 2016 tax year, the threshold was £4,250.

When you can use the Rent a Room Scheme

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

When you can’t use the Rent a Room Scheme

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

SpareRoom

SpareRoom, the UK’s busiest flatshare site. Every three minutes, someone finds a flatmate with SpareRoom.

The table below shows the change in monthly rents between 2009 and 2014 according to Spareroom:

Ave Rent 2009 (£) Ave Rent 2014 (£) Rental Increase %
London & suburbs £549 £691 25.8%
East Anglia £345 £398 15.4%
East Midlands £314 £353 12.6%
North England £304 £334 9.8%
North West England £316 £359 13.8%
South East England £390 £449 15.2%
South West England £347 £394 13.7%
West Midlands £334 £366 9.7%
Yorkshire & Humberside £312 £347 11.3%
Northern Ireland £238 £260 9.5%
Scotland £325 £403 24.2%
Wales £302 £332 9.9%
UK £500 £550 10%

Extra 3% Stamp Duty on Buy to Lets – but what if you have a property company? Reply

To Let

A 3% surcharge on stamp duty when some buy-to-let properties and second homes are bought will be levied from April 2016.

This means it will add £5,520 of tax to be paid when buying the average £184,000 buy-to-let property. The new charge would have hit 160,000 buyers if it had applied last year.

George Osborne said the new surcharge would raise £1bn extra for the Treasury by 2021.

https://i1.wp.com/media.property118.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/SYQKJE07TB.jpg

But, commercial property investors, with more than 15 properties, are expected to be exempt from the new charges.

Stamp Duty on Selling Shares is 0.5% so why aren’t more investors buying property into companies and then selling the shares in the company!

See my blogs, click to read

5 reasons why you need a Property Investment Company!

10 ways to pay less Property Tax (Investors)

steve@bicknells.net

Contact Us

 

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 it time to get a lodger? Reply

Woman working on laptop while man vacuums

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.

steve@bicknells.net

Buy to Let – Facts, Tax and Ways to increase your return 2

Mosaïque de logements

House prices are rising as confirmed by the Land Registry in their report 29 April 2013, the annual change is 0.9%, rent is increasing again after a drop in 2009 according to the English Housing Survey, in 2011 it went up 3% to a mean rent after housing benefit of £132 per week. So let’s see who the tenants are (English Housing Survey 2011):

 

social and private renting households receiving Housing Benefit
all
social
renters
all
private
renters
all
 renters
percentages
age of household reference person
16 to 24 6.3 11.9 7.8
25 to 34 12.6 26.9 16.5
35 to 44 18.1 24.0 19.7
45 to 54 16.3 15.8 16.2
55 to 64 14.1 9.0 12.7
65 to 74 15.8 7.8 13.6
75 and over 16.7 4.4 13.4
marital status of household reference person
married1 16.9 18.4 17.3
cohabiting2 5.5 9.7 6.7
single 33.2 37.6 34.4
widowed3 17.1 7.5 14.5
divorced4  20.9 17.0 19.8
separated5 6.4 9.9 7.3
household size
one 50.5 31.7 45.4
two 23.2 28.7 24.7
three 11.5 18.0 13.3
four 8.2 12.3 9.3
five 3.6 5.8 4.2
six or more 3.0 3.4 3.1
household type
couple, no dependent child(ren) 11.5 8.0 10.5
couple with dependent child(ren) 10.1 19.2 12.5
lone parent with dependent child(ren) 20.9 35.1 24.7
other multi-person household 7.1 6.0 6.8
one person 50.5 31.7 45.4
length of residence
less than 1 year 8.4 27.7 13.6
1 year, under 3 years 15.4 32.5 20.0
3 years, under 5 years 13.2 15.5 13.8
5 years, under 10 years 20.7 12.3 18.4
10 years, under 20 years 22.2 8.0 18.4
20 years or more 20.1 * 15.7
economic activity of
household reference person
full time work 2.7 13.1 5.5
part time work 9.5 18.1 11.9
retired 36.4 16.0 30.8
unemployed 13.8 17.4 14.8
full time education * * 1.5
other 36.4 32.9 35.5
total 2,395 890 3,285
£ per week
mean gross weekly income
of household reference person  206 237 215
(and partner)
sample 1,945 690 2,635

Yields are looking good, its possible to achieve 8% to 10%, take a look at the examples on http://investors.assetz.co.uk/property-listing.htm

Lending rates are low with Bank of England base rate stuck at 0.5%.

So we should see Buy to Let coming back into fashion with investors, with that in mind here are my top tips to minimise your tax:

1. 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

 

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

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

4. Consider how the property is owned for example your partner may pay less tax or if you own it 50/50 you could use their capital gains tax exemption on sale of the property

5. Consider whether owning the property within a limited company might be better, Corporation Tax is 20% for small companies in the UK which can make dividends more tax efficient than personal income.

6. Make sure any borrowings you have are on the Buy to Let so that you can claim tax relief on the interest

7. Claim the Energy Saving allowance  for energy saving work and save £1,500

steve@bicknells.net