Landlords have just two months left to prepare for tax changes

With the 31 January 2018 tax assessment deadline looming, landlords have 60 days to get to grips with the latest regulatory changes.

In April this year, Section 24 of the Finance Act, which will roll out over the next four years, began to take effect. The new rule means landlords will no longer be able to offset the cost of mortgage interest payments against their rental income before they pay tax.

The tax relief was lowered from 100% to 75% in April, and will be reduced to 50% in April 2018, 25% in 2019, then 0% the following year, when landlords will no longer be able to take mortgage interest payments into account as an expense.

The January self-assessment tax return deadline will see the first effects of the relief reduction for landlords.

This year has seen a raft of changes for buy-to-let landlords, from stricter regulations to new lending requirements.

And next year will be no easier, as HMO licensing and new energy performance certificate requirements come into play.

Changing tack

The Section 24 amendments apply to UK resident landlords with residential rental properties anywhere in the world, non-UK resident landlords with UK-based residential rental properties, and trusts and partnerships with residential rental properties.

Landlords with the highest loan-to-values will of course be hit the hardest by the changes – those with buy-to-let mortgages in the 40-45% tax brackets will pay more tax, and landlords in the 20% bracket might pay more if their total gross income is more than £45,000.

Almost half (47%) of landlords surveyed by Simple said they had changed their investment plans because of the tax changes, although less than 10% will reduce the size of their portfolios.

A quarter of landlords put the tax relief changes as the biggest influence when planning their investment strategy.

Alex Huntley, head of operations at Simple, said: “We know that landlords are adapting to the changes in the market, and are willing to embrace the challenges and find opportunities to develop more profitable and sustainable portfolios.

“Our research found that over one in three landlords (38%) owning at least two properties would consider forming a limited company, trust, limited liability partnership or a combination of these to lessen the impact of the tax reforms.”

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