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If you have decided to start to build a residential property portfolio then you may be wondering whether to do this in your own name i.e. personally owned or whether to do this through a Limited company.

Below we have set out a brief summary of the pros and cons of holding buy-to-let residential properties in personal and company hands:

Personal

Advantages

  • No additional reporting requirements (all income and expenditure reported on the individual’s Tax Return)
  • Possibly more choice with regards to mortgages albeit lenders are now much more willing to lend to companies.

Disadvantages

  • Mortgage Interest relief restriction being phased in from April 2017 reducing the effective rate of relief down to 20% by April 2020
  • All profits taxed at the owner’s marginal rate of tax (i.e. up to 45%)
  • Unlimited risk i.e. not limited liability protection

Company

Advantages

  • There is no restriction on mortgage interest relief and so the full value of any interest paid is set against income when calculating profits.
  • Profits are currently taxed at 20% with this rate falling to 19% from 1st April 2018 and then to 17% from 1st April 2020. Additionally, the Chancellor has indicated that rates may well come down to below 15%.
  • Commercial protection should anything go wrong with the business i.e. the protection of limited liability.

Disadvantages

  • Potential additional tax should profits be taken out of the company.
  • The additional filing requirements for the company (Companies House, HMRC).
  • Possibly slightly less choice in terms of lenders albeit this is changing.

There has been a definite trend in the past year or so for buy to let investors to use companies and the main drivers for this are the restriction of mortgage interest relief for individuals and the much lower tax rates for companies. As a result, more and more mortgage lenders are prepared to lend to companies.

In addition to structuring your property business in the most tax efficient manner we are also able to assist with funding & mortgage requirements

To discuss your specific circumstances then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Call us on 0161 359 4227/0845 054 8560

The new tax changes for holding a rental property as an individual, or in a limited company, will need to be carefully considered by landlords. 

These changes impact:

  • allowable expenses
  • stamp duty
  • interest costs
  • treatment of future gains.

Wear and tear allowance
This has been abolished for individuals from 6 April 2016 and for companies from 1 April 2016. In its place landlords are able to claim as an allowable expense the actual cost of replacing furniture (such as tables, chairs and beds) and fittings (such as carpets and curtains). You can see the draft clauses; Clause 69: Property business deductions: replacement of domestic items and Clause 70: Property business deductions: wear and tear allowance; in the Finance Bill (No2) 2016

Stamp duty payable on purchase of property
An additional 3% stamp duty land tax is payable for properties purchased on or after 1 April 2016. This is to apply to both individuals and limited companies. There are detailed rules for individuals and for purchases through limited companies.

The surcharge applies to residential properties but not to commercial properties.

Interest payable on loans relating to the business
This measure will restrict relief for finance costs on residential properties to the basic rate of income tax and will be introduced over four years from 6 April 2017.

The measure will not affect companies renting out property, or individuals renting out commercial property or furnished holiday letting.

The measure will affect residential property in the UK and elsewhere, as well as mortgage interest, interest on loans to buy furnishings and fees incurred taking out or repaying mortgages or loans.

Landlords will no longer be able to deduct all of their finance costs from their property income to arrive at their property profits. They will instead receive a basic rate reduction from their income tax liability for their finance costs.

Landlords will be able to obtain relief as follows:

Finance cost allowed in full                    Finance cost allowed at basic rate

Year to 5 April 2016          100%                                                            0%
Year to 5 April 2017          100%                                                            0%
Year to 5 April 2018          75%                                                            25%
Year to 5 April 2019          50%                                                            50%
Year to 5 April 2020          25%                                                            75%
Year to 5 April 2021          0%                                                            100%


Capital gains
In the March 2016 Budget it was announced that the capital gains tax rates for individuals would be reduced. However this reduction would not apply to sales of residential property. However, private residence relief (of principal private residence relief) is still available as before.

Basic Rate                 Higher or Additional
Taxpayer                    Rate Taxpayer

Rate on gains from residential property       18%                                   28%
Rate on gains from other assets                   10%                                  20%

Individuals are entitled to an annual tax-free allowance which is £11,100 for the year from 6 April 2016. It would seem that individuals selling shares in companies which own residential companies would be chargeable to capital gains tax at the lower rates shown above.

Companies pay corporation tax on their gains at the corporation tax rate (which for the year from 1 April 2016 is 20%). Companies can claim indexation allowance to reduce the taxable gain whereas individuals cannot.

With regards to the reduction in rate of capital gains tax, you can see the draft clause and schedules: Clause 72 and Schedules 11 and 12: Reduction in rate of capital gains tax; in the Finance Bill (No2) 2016