Property taxation reforms
The good news
The rent a room tax relief limit will increase from £4,250 to £7,500 from 6 April 2016.
The relief applies where you rent out a room or rooms in your main residence. However, this is still not quite enough to cover the average monthly room rental in London of nearly £700, but only a small excess is left taxable.
The other news is not so good.
From 6 April 2020, relief for interest and other finance costs will be restricted to the 20% basic rate. There will be a gradual introduction so the restriction will apply to a quarter of finance costs for 2017/18, half for 2018/19 and three-quarters for 2019/20.
In most cases, landlords will have used the finance to buy the let property, but it could also have been used to fund major repairs or furnishings. The restrictions will also apply to fees incurred when taking out or repaying mortgages or loans.
Apart from trying to raise rents to cover the tax cost, other solutions are somewhat more drastic. Anyone who owns property outright without finance is not affected by the changes, so if you have a portfolio of properties you might be able to sell some in order to reduce or completely repay mortgages. A company structure will avoid the finance costs restriction, but generally comes with other tax complications – although it may suit a new entrant to the buy-to-let market. Many may just sell up.
You have until 6 April 2017 to plan, and as always we are here to help.
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