Moving Up a Gear
Single property landlords will be pushed into higher rate tax bracket
The restriction on the deduction of finance costs from 6th April 2017 has meant that single property landlords could easily find themselves becoming higher rate taxpayers because of the new rules. This is illustrated by the example of Imogen below.
Imogen is self-employed and works from home. Her annual business profits are £30,000. She also receives an annual rental income of £35,000 from the letting of a residential property which was purchased by way of a substantial mortgage which incurs annual interest of £37,000.
Imogen doesn’t believe that she will be affected by the changes to the deductibility of finance costs because she only pays tax at 20% but looking forward to 2020/21 it will be seen that she is mistaken:
Business profit 30,000 30,000
Rental income 35,000 35,000
Less: loan interest (35,000)
Total income 30,000 65,000
Less: personal allowance (11,000) (11,000)
Taxable income 19,000 54,000
£19,000/£32,000 @ 20% = 3,800 6,400
£22,000 @ 40% = 8,800
Less: interest relief (£35,000 x 20%) (7,000)
Net tax payable 3,800 8,200
According to recent research carried out by the National Landlords Association (NLA), this realisation is dawning on more single property landlords. Some 16% now believe that the changes will propel them into the higher rate tax bracket, representing an increase in opinion from 2016.
The current average annual mortgage finance costs for a single property landlord is £5,600, meaning that those earning just below £45,000 could be paying tax at 40%.
Individuals who only let the solitary property are the most common type of landlord, representing 62% of the UK’s landlord population, ie approximately 1.5 of the estimated 2.3 million. The tax changes are therefore thought to affect approximately 368,000, with young couples and families potentially at the greatest risk if landlords are forced to sell their properties as a result.
The NLA suggest that any single property landlord affected by the 40% rate would need to increase rents by 11% in order to continue to make a steady return from the property, equating to as much as £116 per calendar month for the average rental property.
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the NLA, said:
“Single property landlords are responsible for providing a huge proportion of the UK’s private rented homes, and these figures show that, slowly, more and more are waking up to the fact that their tax bills could be significantly higher in the coming years.
A fifth (21%) of landlords with just one property, do not make a profit, and over the next few years those bumped up a tax bracket will find that their ability to continue to provide good quality housing will seriously be affected.
More and more families and young couples are making their home in the private rented sector because they cannot either access social housing or afford to buy their own home. Affected landlords will have the choice of either increasing rents or selling up – so either way it’s the people they currently home who look likely to suffer the most as a result of this damaging tax charge.”