By Simon Misiewicz
Are you worried about the budget announcement?
Are you thinking about using a limited company?
The budget announcement means that you are likely to pay more tax
I’ve previously written an extensive article that demonstrates that many people will pay more tax on their property portfolio after the budget announcement of 2015. There were a number of changes that reduced the costs that could be offset against your property income, including:
- The restriction of mortgage interest relief to 20%
- Removal of the 10% wear & tear allowance
If you are a higher rate taxpayer then you will pay a lot more tax. If you have income of circa £20K with mortgage interest costs of circa £40K then you could be moved from being a basic rate taxpayer to a higher rate taxpayer.
It may be worth considering transferring your property portfolio to a limited company if you are likely to pay more tax.
Can you relate to the above?
Can you see that you are likely to pay more tax?
If you have answered yes to these questions, then keep reading for ways to minimise your liabilities.
Considerations when changing ownership from your personal name into a limited company
- Any Capital Gains Tax (CGT) that you will have to pay, ie, the difference of the market value now and the price that you paid for the property, less any capital refurbishment costs. I have written a more detailed article on this.
- Any Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) costs that will be incurred by transferring the properties into a limited company. Again I have already written an article on this
- The redemption penalties that you will incur by paying off your existing Buy To Let (BTL) mortgages early
- The solicitor fees incurred by transferring the properties into a limited company
- Any additional accountancy fees of running the limited company
- Any additional interest that you are likely to pay by using a commercial mortgage for your limited company over and above the buy to let (BTL) rates that you pay when holding properties in your own name
- The additional arrangement fees that you will pay using a commercial mortgage
A real life client example — paying more tax because of the budget announcement (using 2015-16 rates)
For the purpose of this article we are going to name my client John to protect his identity.
John earns £35,000 from his employment income and £5,000 from his property portfolio. He does not think that he will be affected by the budget changes because he is not a higher rate taxpayer. But he is wrong because this is how his property business is illustrated:
£45,000 property income
£35,000 mortgage interest rate costs
£5,000 other costs
In the above scenario, and also taking into account his employment income, John’s tax liability would have been £5,880 in the pre-budget announcement world. Now, with the budget changes, his tax will increase by £6,523 because of the mortgage interest relief capping.
This is because before the tax changes, mortgage interest was subtracted from property income before tax was calculated. Under the new system, tax will be calculated on the property income before mortgage interest costs are subtracted, then a rebate of 20% of the mortgage interest will be added back. So John’s taxable income jumps from £40,000 to £75,000 and he is thus taxed a much higher proportion of his income. Use this calculator to see exactly how this works.
If John was to buy more properties, then he would also pay 40% tax on any further profit that he makes.
In 2015-16 the higher rate taxpayer band kicks in at £42,836. Under the new rules, that is the point at which John would be paying 20% more tax on the paper profits even though in reality he is making less than £42,386.
Practical steps you should now take to transfer properties into a limited company
It is one thing to understand the theory but it is another to put it into practice. This is why I have written a step by step guide to implementing this strategy:
- Identify properties that have little profit in them, ie, where the market value less purchase price means that you can use your CGT allowances (£11,000 per year per person) to avoid CGT charges
- Identify properties that have a high amount of mortgage interest that could push you into being a higher rate taxpayer
- It is also worth looking at properties that are not making you any money, using formulas like Return On Investment (ROI)
- Work out how much the redemption penalties you are likely to pay are and also add on any additional new fees from using a commercial loan/mortgage through the limited company
- Work out how much SDLT tax you will pay by transferring properties into a limited company
- See if you can actually get a commercial loan/mortgage
- Set up a limited company
- Transfer the properties from your own name to a limited company using a property savvy solicitor. Put money aside for any CGT owing
You may be able to mitigate CGT altogether if you can prove that you are working full time in property by claiming incorporation tax relief.
Next steps — if you want to see if it is worth transferring properties into a limited company
If you want to understand how to implement this strategy or to discuss other finance/tax questions, then please book some time with us using the below calendar:
If you are looking for a new accountant then please book some time with us using the below calendar. Please note that this booking is to describe our services and will not be used to discuss your personal tax affairs.