With low interest rates and poor performing pension investments many people turned to buy to let to provide income for their retirement. There have been recent tax changes that all buy to let investors and prospective investors need to know.
Mortgage interest tax relief
At the moment an investor who borrows funds to buy a property for letting can claim the interest on the loan against the buy to let profits. This deduction will be removed over the next few years and replaced by a tax credit. This may have a big impact on the income tax paid on the rental income.
Wear and tear allowance
From 2016 this allowance covering furnishings will be removed. It is replaced by the "replacement furniture relief". It applies to furnished and unfurnished lettings. No relief is given for the initial cost but the full cost is deductible when the item is replaced.
However if the replacement is an improvement on the original item the improvement element is excluded. This makes the relief more complicated. Also items integral to the house such as baths, washboard, toilets, boilers, fitted kitchen units are excluded, though are deductible as a repair.
Therefore, if you buy an empty property and furnish it there will be no relief, but if you buy one with furniture and replace it you will have the relief. You will also need to be very diligent with record keeping.
As from April the higher rate of Stamp Duty (3% extra on all levels) applies to the purchase of most buy to let properties
It is clear the Government are looking very closely at this type of investment and investors will need to consider the impact of legislation on their investments.
If you would like additional information, please contact us on 01905 721600.