SUMMARY

This overview relates to a residential letting business which is applicable to most individual landlords. Special rules apply to the RENT A ROOM scheme and to HOLIDAY LETS. Hotels and Guest Houses are also excluded from these general rules.

NON-RESIDENTS

Special rules apply to non-resident landlords (see tax deduction below). A person is subject to UK income tax in any year in which he or she has any income arising in the UK which is untaxed or not taxed at the right rate (with special rules in the years of emigration and immigration).

With effect from April 2015 all disposals by non-residents attract Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the gain accruing after that date on the disposal of residential property. Disposal by non-residents prior to that date do not attract CGT except for disposals by persons temporarily non-resident. Disposals of other assets by non-residents do not attract CGT.

RENTS & ALLOWABLE EXPENSES

Rents less allowable expenses are taxable as part of the taxpayer’s total UK income. The main rule for allowable expenses is that they must be wholly and exclusively incurred in the course of the letting business though some relaxation of this rule may be available in specific circumstances. It is important to differentiate initial and capital costs from running costs. Capital costs and set-up costs, which are capitalised, are usually relieved for tax purposes against the calculation of the gain on sale of the investment property. The cost of improvements is normally treated as increasing the base cost of the investment.

The two biggest items allowable as a deduction in calculating taxable net rental income will often be loan (or mortgage) interest and travel where the cost is attributable solely to maintaining the rental income. However from 5th April 2017 there will be a gradual reduction in the amount of tax relief given for mortgage or loan interest. The lettings agent will incur other costs and as long as these represent routine maintenance these too will normally be allowable. From 5th April 2016 the replacement of furniture and equipment on a like for like basis is fully allowable and there is no longer a Wear and Tear Allowance. No allowance is given for the cost of initial furnishings or equipment. Get in touchtoday to find out how we can help you with your letting business accounts.

HOW IS “RENT” DETERMINED?

From 5th April 2017 the rental income is normally calculated as the cash received

HOW ARE “LOSSES” TREATED?

Special rules apply to the treatment of losses. While profits are added to a taxpayer’s income and taxed at the taxpayers highest rates, losses generally may not be set off income from other sources other than some types of other property income. Losses may be carried forward to offset future profits, with some restrictions on the type of profits they may offset.

wHY IS MY AGENT DEDUCTING TAX FROM MY RENT?

Since 6th April 1996 managing agents must deduct basic rate tax from the rents collected and pay this to the H.M. Revenue & Customs (HMRC) each quarter. Where there is no managing agent the obligation to deduct and pay to HMRC the basic rate tax falls on the tenant, unless the rent falls below a de minimis figure.

can i get a tax exemption?

Landlords can apply (on form NRL1) for a formal H.M. Revenue & Customs (HMRC) approval to receive rent gross, and on receiving this, the managing agent then need not deduct tax. This exemption will be withdrawn if the landlord fails to keep his/her tax affairs up to date. It does not exempt the landlord from tax on rental income. Get in touch today and let us help you apply for a non-resident exemption.

WHO NEEDS TO FILE A TAX RETURN?

The non-resident landlord must make an Income Tax Return unless he/she has been told in writing by the H.M. Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that a return is not required. The Tax Return is made up to 5th April each year and must be submitted by 31st January following the end of the Tax Year when filed on line. Non-residents cannot now use the HMRC on-line tax return filing software. Get in touch to find out how we can help you with your Tax Return.

What are PERSONAL ALLOWANCES?

The Personal Allowance is an amount that may be received free of tax (see rates & tables). Citizens of the EEA (EU + Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway) are entitled to the Personal Allowance wherever they are resident. Citizens of  the Commonwealth and countries with which the UK has an appropriate Double Taxation Agreement are entitled to the annual Personal Allowance if they are resident in their own country.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A PROPERTY IS SOLD?

Until April 2015 the gains made on disposals made by people who are non-resident for five tax years or more are generally outside the scope of UK tax. Gains accruing after 5th April 2015 on disposals of residential property occurring after 5th April 2015 and made by non residents are subject to UK Capital Gains Tax. Get in touch today find out how we can help you with your Capital Gains Tax calculation.

CAPITAL GAINS TAX RETURNS

When a non-resident disposes of a UK property that transaction is potentially subject to UK Capital Gains Tax. A return MUST be made to HMRC within 30 days of completion of the transaction or very substantial penalties will apply. (Except for some no gain no loss transactions). If the non-resident taxpayer is registered for Self-Assessment UK tax returns the calculation of the gain and the payment of the tax may be deferred until the UK Self-Assessment tax return is submitted. Otherwise a full calculation and payment are required with the return within 30 days of completion.