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Extra 3% Stamp Duty on Buy to Lets – but what if you have a property company?
A 3% surcharge on stamp duty when some buy-to-let properties and second homes are bought will be levied from April 2016.
This means it will add £5,520 of tax to be paid when buying the average £184,000 buy-to-let property. The new charge would have hit 160,000 buyers if it had applied last year.
George Osborne said the new surcharge would raise £1bn extra for the Treasury by 2021.
But, commercial property investors, with more than 15 properties, are expected to be exempt from the new charges.
Stamp Duty on Selling Shares is 0.5% so why aren’t more investors buying property into companies and then selling the shares in the company!
See my blogs, click to read
5 reasons why you need a Property Investment Company!
10 ways to pay less Property Tax (Investors)
Will CIS apply to my property ‘refurb’? do Landlords need to register?
Many small scale property developers don’t realise that the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) applies to them.
HMRC are also looking very closely at Landlords (Investors) to see if they should register too…
Terrace Hill (Berkeley) Ltd v HMRC  UKFTT 75 (TC) TC 04282
Until now property investment has been excluded from CIS but HMRC say this is under review
For now let’s focus on Property Developers, here are a few facts:
- Property development is a trade it includes building new buildings and improving or refurbing existing buildings
- Property developers will be contractors because they employ subcontractors – bricklayer, carpenters, painters, electricians, plasterers etc
- There is no lower limit below which you do not have to operate CIS
- Subcontractors, especially Labour Only subcontractors need to have their employment status tested
- Subcontractors need to be verified with HMRC to determine their tax status before they can be paid
- Each month the Developer will need to file a return with HMRC of subcontractor deductions
- Each month the subcontractors must be given a deduction statement
- CIS applies to all types of Developer – Individuals, Partnerships and Companies
Failure to comply means big penalties
Here are some penalty horror stories!
Brian Parkinson a gardner and lanscaper who used occasional subcontractors and got £31,500 in CIS Penalties!
The FTT heard evidence that little or no loss of tax resulted from this omission, as the amount of tax Parkinson ought to have deducted under the CIS was put at £837.90. [Brian Parkinson and the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs TC04526; Appeal number: TC/2013/00224].
This comprised £6,000 (5 x the £1,200 maximum) charged under the Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA 1970), s98A(2)(a) and also month 13 penalties of £25,500 charged under TMA 1970, s. 98A(2)(b). – See more at: https://www.accountancylive.com/partial-win-gardener-over-%E2%80%98excessive%E2%80%99-cis-penalties#sthash.zJA59Gjv.AfCNNGRJ.dpuf
INCOME TAX – subcontractors – appellant company contracted with a third party provider to supply “operatives” – third party provider “net” for CIS purposes – company’s failure to make CIS returns – fixed monthly penalties of £28,500 – Month 13 penalties of £56,500 – whether reasonable excuse – held, no – whether disproportionate as a breach of A1P1 – Tribunal’s jurisdiction and interaction with mitigation – Bosher followed – fixed penalties upheld – Month 13 penalties set aside as excessive – appeal allowed in part
If you’re a property developer make sure you register for CIS with HMRC!
If you need help contact us
The VAT advantages of a development company
Property Development is a trade, where as Property Investment isn’t – renting out a residential property is a VAT exempt supply.
If you are planning significant building work, setting up a Development Company or using a building contractor might save VAT.
Assuming you employ a builder…
The VAT Rules are in VAT Notice 708 Buildings & Construction
Your builder may be able to charge you VAT at the reduced rate of 5 per cent if you are converting premises into:
- a ‘single household dwelling’
- a different number of ‘single household dwellings’
- a ‘multiple occupancy dwelling’, such as bed-sits, or
- premises intended for use solely for a ‘relevant residential purpose’
As your builder will be VAT registered, they reclaim the VAT they are charged and then charge you VAT at 5%.
If your business is property rental and you do the work yourself, you can’t take advantage of the 5% rate.
If your Development Company is VAT registered you can reclaim all the VAT.
Get your existing business or your property development company to convert the property and then sell it to another company that you own (may be an SPV) will be a VAT Zero Rated transaction. The other company then carries on the rental business.
Is Commonhold better than Leasehold for Flats?
Most residential flats are owned on Long Leasholds but this creates tax issues – Stamp Duty, Capital Gains, Income Tax/Corporation Tax.
Take a look at HMRC Helpsheet 292 and CG70700 to get an idea of Capital Gains Tax issues!
Fortunately ESC/D39 can be applied to Lease Extentions
In practice, the surrender of an existing lease and the grant of a new lease should not be treated as a disposal for Capital Gains Tax purposes if the taxpayer so wishes and all of the following conditions are satisfied:
- the transaction, whether made between connected or unconnected parties, is made on terms equivalent to those that would have been made between unconnected parties bargaining at arms length;
- the transaction is not part of or connected with a larger scheme or series of transactions;
- a capital sum is not received by the tenant;
- the extent of the property under the new lease is the same as that under the old lease;
- the terms of the new lease (other than its duration and the amount of rent payable) do not differ from those of the old lease. Trivial differences should be ignored.
The terms of a particular lease may provide for its extension if the tenant so requests. If such a request is made, the extension of the lease does not have any immediate Capital Gains Tax consequences.
In 2002, Commonhold was introduced in the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 (CLRA 2002). Commonhold can be applied to both Commercial and Residential buildings.
The advantage of commonhold is that it gets rid of the concept of the declining asset – sellers and purchasers of commonhold properties will no longer have to worry about how many years are left on the lease.
Under the commonhold system, all flat owners will automatically be members of a company – the Commonhold Association – that owns the freehold and thus the block.
This means that it should be easier to run the building for the benefit of the flat owners.
However, blocks of flats will still need to be managed.
And as a form of community ownership, commonhold brings with it various tensions.
To alleviate any possible problems, members will have to sign up to a “Commonhold Community Statement”.
This statement will set out all the rules and regulations you normally find in a lease, for example rules about subletting, pets, noise and use of gardens.
Which is better?
More Tax on Companies owning High Value Residential Property
Most residential properties (dwellings) are owned directly by individuals. But in some cases a dwelling may be owned by a company, a partnership with a corporate member or other collective investment vehicle. In these circumstances the dwelling is said to be ‘enveloped’ because the ownership sits within a corporate ‘wrapper’ or ‘envelope’.
ATED is a tax payable by companies on high value residential property (a dwelling). It came into effect from 1 April 2013 and is payable each year.
Budget 2014 announced a reduction in the threshold from £2 million to £500,000 to be introduced over 2 years. From 1 April 2015 a new band will come into effect for properties with a value greater than £1 million but not more than £2 million with an annual charge of £7,000. From 1 April 2016 a further new band will come into effect for properties with a value greater than £500,000 but not more than £1 million with an annual charge of £3,500.
Chargeable amounts for chargeable period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015
|Property value||Annual chargeable amount 2014 to 15|
|More than £2 million but not more than £5 million||£15,400|
|More than £5 million but not more than £10 million||£35,900|
|More than £10 million but not more than £20 million||£71,850|
|More than £20 million||£143,750|
There are reliefs that might lead to you not having to pay any ATED. You can only claim these by completing and sending an ATED return.
A dwelling might get relief from ATED if it is:
- let to a third party on a commercial basis and isn’t, at any time, occupied (or available for occupation) by anyone connected with the owner
- open to the public for at least 28 days per annum, if part of a property is occupied as a dwelling in connection with running the property as a commercial business open to the public, the whole property is treated as one dwelling and any relief will apply to the whole property
- part of a property trading business and isn’t, at any time, occupied (or available for occupation) by anyone connected with the owner
- part of a property developers trade where the dwelling is acquired as part of a property development business the property was purchased with the intention to re-develop and sell it on and isn’t, at any time, occupied (or available for occupation) by anyone connected with the owner
- for the use of employees of the company, for the company’s commercial business and where the employee does not have an interest (directly or indirectly) in the company of more than 10%, the employee’s duties must not include services for any present or future occupation of the property by someone connected with the company, the relief is also available where a partner in a partnership does not have an interest of more than 10% in the partnership
- a farmhouse, if it is occupied by a qualifying farm worker who farms the associated farmland, a former long-serving farm worker or their surviving spouse or civil partner
- a dwelling acquired by a financial institution in the course of lending
- owned by a provider of social housing
Alternatively in some cases it might be better to own the property as an individual or jointly with other individuals.
As joint tenants (sometimes called ‘beneficial joint tenants’):
- you have equal rights to the whole property
- the property automatically goes to the other owners if you die
- you can’t pass on your ownership of the property in your will
- you can only sell or remortgage the property with the other owners’ agreement
Tenants in common
As tenants in common:
- you can own different shares of the property
- you can pass on your share of the property in your will
- you can stop one owner from selling or remortgaging the property without the other owners’ agreement
The main source for this blog was HMRC
5 reasons to move business premises into your pension?
Often business premises are owned by the business, this could be for many reasons for example the business has multiple owners or it helps to increase the business net worth.
But in many cases it would be better for the premises to be owned by the business owners pension fund because:
- The object of the business is not to own its own property, the objective should be for the business to make profits from trading
- The business could use cash tied up in the premises to invest in trading activities
- Pensions are a very tax efficient method of ownership – no capital gains, no tax on rental profits
- Company Pension Contributions are Tax Deductible and Individual contributions get income tax refunds
- You may be able to use 3 year Carry Forward to get funds into your pension scheme
In summary to move your business premises from your business to a SIPP or SSAS pension you would do the following:
- Find a lender prepared to lend a third of the property value to your pension scheme (which will be half the value of the fund ie if the property was valued at £300k, your pension could borrow £100k which is 50% of the £200k which will need to be funded by your pension scheme)
- Have the premises independently valued and rent assessed and appoint solicitors
- Create a SSAS or SIPP pension (you can include other people in your SSAS or SIPP investments)
- Transfer into your SSAS or SIPP any funds you have in other pension schemes
- As you are the business owner and its your pension scheme your business could make a payment into your pension scheme, the maximum for the last 3 years would be £140k (£50k + £50k + £40k) see details of NRE
- The pension contribution from your company could be an In Specie payment (meaning its in kind not cash)
- You could make a personal payment to your pension and if you are a higher rate tax payer your will get a tax refund via your self assessment return
- Then your pension scheme buys the premises from your business and rents it back to the business
HMRC demand payment from Landlords
HMRC launched the ‘Let Property Campaign‘ on the 10th December 2013.
If you’re a landlord who has undisclosed income you must tell HMRC about any unpaid tax now. You will then have 3 months to calculate and pay what you owe.
The Let Property Campaign is an opportunity open to all residential property landlords with undisclosed taxes. This includes:
- those that have multiple properties
- landlords with single rentals
- specialist landlords with student or workforce rentals
- holiday lettings
- anyone renting out a room in their main home for more than £4,250 per year, or £2,125 if the property was let jointly, but has not told HMRC about this income
- those who live abroad or intend to live abroad for more than 6 months and rent out a property in the UK as you may still be liable to UK taxes
According to the Telegraph….
Fewer than 500,000 taxpayers are registered with HMRC as owning properties other than their home. And yet other sources put the number of Britain’s growing army of landlords at between 1.2million and 1.4million.
Why the discrepancy? No one can say for sure, but the taxman has his answer: not enough people are declaring – and paying tax on – their property incomes and gains.
HMRC will identify those who they believe should have made a disclosure by:
- comparing the information already in their possession with customers’ UK tax histories
- continuing to use their powers to obtain further detailed information about payments made to and from landlords
Where additional taxes are due HMRC will usually charge higher penalties than those available under the Let Property Campaign. The penalties could be up to 100% of the unpaid liabilities, or up to 200% for offshore related income.
If you owe tax, you must tell HMRC of your intention to make a disclosure. You need to do this as soon as you become aware that you owe tax on your letting income.
At this stage, you only need to tell HMRC that you will be making a disclosure.
You do not need to provide any details of the undisclosed income or the tax you believe you owe.