Please find details of the changes to tax relief for individual landlords, which was announced as part of the 2015 Summer Budget.
1.190 The current tax system supports landlords over and above ordinary homeowners. Landlords can deduct costs they incur when calculating the tax they pay on their rental income. A large portion of those costs are interest payments on the mortgage. Mortgage Interest Relief was withdrawn from homeowners 15 years ago. However, landlords still receive the relief. The ability to deduct these costs puts investing in a rental property at an advantage. Tax relief for finance costs is particularly beneficial for wealthier landlords with larger incomes, as every £1 of finance cost they incur allows them to pay 40p or 45p less tax. The Bank of England has also noted in its recent Financial Stability Report that the rapid growth of buy to let mortgages could pose a risk to the UK’s financial stability.
1.191 The government will restrict the relief on finance costs that landlords of residential property can get to the basic rate of income tax. The restriction will be phased in over 4 years, starting from April 2017. This will reduce the distorting effect the tax treatment of property has on investment and mean individual landlords are not treated differently based on the rate of income tax that they pay. It will also shift the balance between landlords and homeowners.
1.192 The government will also reform how landlords of residential property can account for the costs they incur in improving and maintaining rental property. Currently, landlords of furnished properties can deduct 10% of their rent from their profit to account for wear and tear, irrespective of their expenditure. This means landlords can reduce their tax liability even when they have not improved the property. From April 2016, the government will replace this allowance with a new system that enables all landlords of residential property to only deduct costs they actually incur.
1.193 The government will increase the Rent-a-Room relief from £4,250 to £7,500 a year from April 2016. The value of this relief has been frozen since 1997, so this increase will allow individuals who rent a room in their main residence to do so tax free on income up to £7,500 to reflect increases in rent.
(Source: HM Treasury – Summer Budget 2015)
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