The UK’s Buy to Let market is in a state of flux, with an extra 3% Stamp Duty on the purchase of additional properties and changes to the way a landlord’s income is taxed.
Landlords used to be able to deduct all finance costs from their rental income, with net profits taxed at their marginal rate. Starting in April 2017 tax relief available for buy to let related finance costs was gradually reduced each year. Phased over 4 years it will finally be restricted in 2020/21 to a basic rate of tax, currently equivalent to 20%.
In September 2016, The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) – those responsible for the prudential regulation and supervision of around 1,700 banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms – announced expectations of firms’ underwriting standards to apply to the Buy to Let market.
What you need to know
The PRA changes mean that landlords:
face tougher affordability assessments which take into account borrower’s costs including tax liabilities, verified personal income and possible future interest rate increases.
must provide evidence that rental income covers their mortgage payments by a minimum of 145% at an interest rate of 5.5% for all products other than longer term (five years plus) fixed rates.
with four or more properties, will have their whole portfolio assessed for affordability by the lender – even where other Buy to Let mortgages are held with different lenders.
With all of these changes many landlords may find their portfolios are less profitable.
According to research by the National Landlords Association (NLA), one in four landlords are considering setting up limited companies to negate the tax changes. If you hold a property in a company, your profits are liable for Corporation Tax at 20%, however, if you hold an investment property personally, your rental earnings are combined with your other earnings (such as income from your job) and taxed as Income Tax up to 45%.
At first glance a company structure could look more tax efficient, especially if you are a higher rate tax payer. But before you consider incorporation you should take into account the cost of commercial mortgages.
There’s no doubt the changes in the Buy to Let sector can cause some confusion but we can help find the most appropriate solution for you.
This information does not constitute tax advice. For more details on how this will affect your circumstance you should consult with an independent tax adviser.
HM Revenue and Customs practice and the law relating to taxation are complex and subject to individual circumstances and changes which cannot be foreseen.
Commercial and some Buy to Let mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
If you’d like to find out more about Buy to Let mortgages, please get in touch.