New tax year is a chance for landlords to make buy-to-let less taxing

New tax year is a chance for landlords to make buy-to-let less taxingWith a new tax year commencing, and repeat warnings that HMRC are cracking down on tax evasion amongst residential landlords, the Landlord Syndicate is offering advice to landlords on how to make their tax less taxing in the year ahead.

“If you haven’t done so already, the first thing you need to do is register for self-assessment” says Amer Siddiq, member of Landlord Syndicate and Managing Director of Tax Insider. “A tax return covers the period to the 5th of April each year, and needs to be filed online by the following 31st January so if you have been disorganised and not kept on top of what has been coming in and what has been going out over the last year, it would be a good idea to make a start now.”

 There are certain expenses that can be deducted from your rental income to reduce your liability say the Landlord Syndicate, so landlords need to go over what they have spent over the last year and make sure they have receipts and relevant documentation.

In order to calculate the tax owed, the rental income must be added to any other taxable income you earn. The rate of income tax charged will depend on your total income for the tax year, but there are a number of expenses you can offset against your tax liability for rental income including:

Interest payments on the mortgage – The interest element of a loan or mortgage used to purchase the rental property can be deducted

Repair and maintenance – expenses such as plumbing and gardening or like for like replacements such as double glazing for single glazing, but not improvements

Wear and tear allowance – if a property is let furnished landlords can deduct 10% of the annual net rental income

Green measures – The Landlords Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) is a deduction for income tax purposes when energy efficiency investments are made to properties. It is open to all landlords who pay income tax and who let residential property until April 2015. Tax relief is for a maximum of £1,500 per property.

Fees and Bills – Utility bills, buildings/contents insurance and council tax can all be taken into account as well as letting agency, management and accountancy fees.

Additional costs – these may include anything involved with letting the property, e.g. phone calls, advertising, travel to and from the property and stationary costs

There are important steps landlords can take as we enter a new financial year to ensure that next year’s tax return is an easier process. Amer concludes, “If you really want to make life easier, ensuring good record keeping is key. Keep all receipts no matter how small, they all add up. Most importantly, set up a separate bank account so you can track what is going in and what is going out via your bank statements.”

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