Landlord Services

From 6th April 2017 there were changes to the rules on finance costs deducted against rental income.  The changes only apply to residential properties held by individuals or partnerships; and not furnished holiday lettings.

Restrictions will be placed on the amount of deductions, so relief is only given at basic rate.  This is being phased in over 4 years from 2017/18 to 2020/21 as per the table below:

 

Tax Year % Fully Deducted % Restricted to Basic rate of tax
2017/18 75 25
2018/19 50 50
2019/20 25 75
2020/21 0 100

 

How the tax reduction is calculated

The reduction is the basic rate (20%) of the lower of: –

  • Finance costs
  • Rental property profits (after using brought forward losses)
  • Adjusted total income (income after losses and reliefs and excluding savings and dividend income that exceeds your personal allowance.

The tax reduction cannot be used to create a tax refund.

If the basic rate reduction is calculated using the ‘rental property profits’ or ‘adjusted total income’ then the difference between that and the ‘finance costs’ is carried forward to calculate the basic rate tax reduction in the following year.

The following examples use the income tax rates and personal allowances for 2016/17:-

  • Personal allowance – upto £11,000
  • Basic rate (20%) – £11,001 – £43,000
  • Higher rate (40%) – £43,001 – £150,000

 

Example 1 – No effect on tax charge

Mr A has annual rental income of £52,000 and finance costs of £20,000.  The rental property is his only source of income and it is assumed that the £11,000 personal allowance is deducted from profits prior to the tax being calculated.

2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21
Fully deducted (%) 0 75 50 25 100
Rental Income 52,000 52,000 52,000 52,000 52,000
Expenses (9,000) (9,000) (9,000) (9,000) (9,000)
Finance Costs (20,000) (15,000) (10,000) (5,000) 0
Profits 23,000 28,000 33,000 38,000 43,000
Tax @ 20% 2,400 3,400 4,400 5,400 6,400
Tax @ 40% 0 0 0 0 0
Finance costs 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000
Less: 20% tax reduction 0 (1,000) (2,000) (3,000) (4,000)
Total 2,400 2,400 2,400 2,400 2,400

 

The tax reduction for example in 2020/21 is calculated as 20% of the lower of: –

  • Finance costs (100% of £20,000) = £20,000
  • Rental property profits = £43,000
  • Adjusted total income exceeding PA = £32,000

The lowest amount is finance costs so £20k x 20% = £4k tax reduction.

As Mr A has remained as a basic rate tax payer the changes have had no effect on the tax he pays.

 

Example 2 – Increasing tax charge

Mrs B has self employed income of £35,000 and rental income of £18,000 with finance costs of £8,000

2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21
Restriction (%) 0 75 50 25 100
Self Employed 35,000 35,000 35,000 35,000 35,000
Rental Income 18,000 18,000 18,000 18,000 18,000
Expenses (2,000) (2,000) (2,000) (2,000) (2,000)
Finance Costs (8,000) (6,000) (4,000) (2,000) 0
Profits 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000 16,000
Total Income 43,000 45,000 47,000 49,000 51,000
Tax @ 20% 6,400 6,400 6,400 6,400 6,400
Tax @ 40% 0 800 1,600 2,400 3,200
Finance costs 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000
Less: 20% tax reduction 0 (400) (800) (1,200) (1,600)
Total 6,400 6,800 7,200 7,600 8,000

 

The tax reduction for example in 2020/21 is calculated as 20% of the lower of: –

  • Finance costs (100% of £8,000) = £8,000
  • Rental property profits = £16,000
  • Adjusted total income = £40,000

Lowest amount is finance costs, so £8,000 x 20% = £1,600 tax reduction.

Mrs B has become a higher rate tax payer because of the total income from 2017/18 onwards is higher than £43,000.  By 2020/21, Mrs B has paid an additional £1,600 in tax.

Higher Income Child Benefit Charge

A further consideration is that if Mrs B or her partner claim child benefit by 2020/21 they may have to pay the high-income child benefit charge as her total earnings are now over £50,000.

 

Example 3 – Carrying forward unused finance costs

Miss C earnt £36,000 from employment in 2020/21.  She also received rental income of £20,000, had finance costs of £15,000 and repair costs of £7,000 in 2020/21 but only £2,000 in 2021/22.

2020/21 2021/22
Salary 36,000 36,000
Rental Income 20,000 24,000
Expenses (7,000) (2,000)
Rental Profit 13,000 22,000
Total Income 49,000 58,000
   
Tax @ 20% 6,400 6,400
Tax @ 40% 2,400 6,000
   
Tax Reduction 13,000* 17,000”
Less: 20% tax reduction (2,600) (3,400)
Total 6,200 9,000

*In 2020/21 the tax reduction is calculated as 20% of the lower of: –

  • Finance costs = £15,000
  • Rental Property Profits = £13,000
  • Adjusted total income = £38,000

The lowest amount is rental property profits of £13,000 therefore @20% = £2,600 tax reductions

The £2,000 finance costs (£15,000-£13,000) that has not been used has been carried forward to calculate the tax reduction in 2021/22.

“In 2021/22 the tax reduction is calculated as 20% of the lower of: –

  • Finance costs (£15,000 + £2,000 brought forward) = £17,000
  • Rental Property Profits = £22,000
  • Adjusted total income = £47,000

The lowest amount is finance costs, therefore £17,000 @ 20% = £3,400 tax reduction

 

Incorporation of Rental Property portfolios

The new finance cost restrictions only effects individuals and partnerships, therefore by transferring the property portfolio into a company all the finance costs would become tax deductible and therefore in some circumstances incorporation can be relevant.

However, due to the changing dividend taxes, extracting income from a company is more expensive than it used to be, and so generally only larger portfolios will benefit from incorporation.

Things to consider when deciding whether to incorporate

  1. Re-financing

Lenders will not allow the beneficial interest in a property to be transferred to a company without the mortgage being reissued in the company’s name.  Company mortgages are likely to have a higher interest rate

 

  1. Capital gains tax

Capital gains tax will be payable at the point of transfer as if a sale has taken place unless incorporation relief can be claimed.  Incorporation relief allows the capital gain to be ‘rolled over’ into the base cost of the company shares, meaning CGT would not be payable on the property transfer.  This can be claimed if:

  • The management of properties amounts to a ‘business’ which means the owners must be fully involved in the management of the portfolio
  • The business is being run to make a profit

 

  1. Stamp duty land tax (SDLT)

SDLT would be payable when the properties are transferred to the company as the landlord would be a ‘connected party’ within the company.  Properties transfer to the company at market value and SDLT is due on the transfer value. Note there is a 3% surcharge for homes which are not your principal private residence

However, where the transferor is a partnership, SDLT can be avoided.  A partnership is defined as: –

  • Including at least 2 people who each own some property within the partnership, each file tax returns and each want to incorporate the portfolio eventually into a company.
  • A signed partnership agreement exists, which sets out the profit apportionment
  • Must be a genuine business with a profit motive and each partner actively involved in the business on a day to day basis.

 

  1. When would incorporation not be advisable
  • Where there are cheaper and easier alternatives which get the investors after considering all costs and the ‘hassle factor’ largely to where they would be on incorporation e.g. selling off some properties, using a management or lease company, sharing property ownership with a spouse, buying additional properties within a company but leaving the existing portfolio personally-owned
  • Where the sheer re-financing cost (and cash required to pay down any mortgages to ‘fit’ the lender’s LTVs) for transferring a portfolio into a company isn’t justified compared to the tax saved
  • Where a portfolio is too small, or insufficiently profitable, or where the owner has a ‘day-job’ or significant non-property income, such that ‘passing’ the partnership and company ‘tests’ to enable the avoidance of CGT & SDLT is unlikely – this will mean potentially huge CGT & SDLT bills
  • Where an investor doesn’t have a large personal portfolio and can easily simply switch to buying future properties within a company

 

Whilst Moore Accountancy are unable to provide you with financial advice, hopefully the summary and explanation here will help you consider your existing portfolio and understand the implications of the interest charge which will affect your taxable income and tax due to HMRC on your next tax return.

If you require any further information, then please contact us.

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