The perks of owning property in the city are numerous, but it’s also a task for the responsible. Landlords and rental unit owners have to navigate through the complex conduits of laws and regulations followed by keeping up with the tax regulations.
While all this might seem a simple task, for someone who is earning regular passive rental income, they need robust landlord tax accounting. UK-based landlords are turning to landlord accountants to keep up with the tax regulations and pay taxes on time.
Is Hiring a Landlord Tax Accountant Necessary?
There is no legal requirement for a landlord to hire an accountant. However, given the complex nature of property tax and regulations, there is a lot of room for error. Hence, the money landlords wish to save by not hiring an accountant can potentially go to the government in the form of surcharges and fines.
Moreover, landlord tax accountants can help landlords claim tax relief and save expenses in multiple areas.
In the sections ahead, we will help you understand the importance and utility of a landlord tax accountant.
Benefits of Hiring a Landlord Tax Accountant
Tax accountants can put on multiple hats for a landlord, depending on the latter’s position and requirements.
Stay Compliant With Taxes and Compliances
Given the complex tax system in the UK and interwebbed property taxation rules, landlord accountants can help ensure compliance, claim deductions, and submit tax returns on time. As a result, they allow landlords to earn a good income without leaking it to the authorities for non-compliance.
Then there is the new regulation, effective from April 2024, Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax.
According to this regulation, a new system for income reporting and recording will come into place. Under this, all the self-employed landlords who receive property income will have to share and report their income.
Managing Rental Income and Collection
Landlord tax accountants in the UK are adept at handling the rental income of their clients. They can take responsibility for rent collection, reporting, and tracking. Given their expertise in accounting, the accountants can also set up an efficient rent collection and accounting system.
Using their expertise, landlord tax accountants can also help their clients with income-related issues.
Claim Expenses and Complete Liabilities
In the UK, landlords have the right to claim several expenses in lieu of their rental tax liability. According to Gov.uk, landlords can deduct the following expenses from the tax if these expenses are made wholly and exclusively for the purpose of renting out the property. The following expenses can be claimed only if the landlord is paying for it themselves;
- Water, gas, and electricity bills
- Council tax bills
- Letting agency expenses
- Marketing expenses
- Accountant fees
- Landlord’s insurance
- General maintenance and repairs to the property
- Expenses for services rendered by gardeners and cleaners.
- Legal fees
While the UK government does allow landlords to claim these expenses, there are several caveats in them, for which you will need the assistance of a landlord tax accountant.
Track and Record Income and Expenses
An accountant is necessary to take care of the most basic tasks related to your properties and lands. They can record your income from real estate and note down all the expenses. Taking this information, the accountants can keep you updated on the income potential of your property.
In addition to this, the landlords can also prepare yearly reports and financial statements for their clients. However, these services are only required for landlords with multiple properties. Through these reports, they can highlight every property’s financial performance. Landlords can use these reports to make better decisions.
Grow and Scale your Real Estate Business
Buying and selling properties at the right time is vital for a real estate investor. An accountant can help you get a sense of the market, know the tax ramifications of each transaction, and help your investment portfolio grow.
They can give advice to landlords on matters like incorporation and business structuring. Especially for landlords with multiple properties, it is advisable to create a limited company and follow the tax implications relevant to their business structure.
Landlords accountants have expertise and experience in this domain and can provide timely recommendations and suggestions on properties.
Capital Gains Tax Planning
Engaging a landlord accountant when selling your property can be highly beneficial. They can provide valuable guidance on capital gains tax planning to ensure your sale is structured in a tax-efficient manner.
This can potentially save you a property investor a significant amount of money. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a professional accountant to make the most of your property sale from a taxation standpoint.
Incorporation and Structuring Advice
A landlord accountant can offer valuable guidance to landlords managing multiple properties when it comes to choosing between operating as an individual or through a limited company.
They consider important factors such as tax implications and legal considerations to help make an informed decision.
Seeking their expertise can be highly beneficial to ensure compliance and maximize financial efficiency.
How Tax Accountancy Changes According to the Type of Landlord?
Landlord tax accountancy rules and structuring are different for tax purposes and different types of landlords;
First-Time Landlords: First-time landlords need to report their rental income, even if they are not making any profit. Even before purchasing a property, the landlords must ensure that they are tax efficient. For first-timers, landlord tax accountants can give a clear picture of what they can afford and how to manage finances and stay compliant.
Landlords Managing One or Two Properties: These are landlords under the scanner of HMRC, especially after the latter’s “Let Property Campaign” is underway. Through this campaign, the HMRC aims to recover unpaid landlord tax. A landlord tax accountant will help their clients know whether they are compliant to pay tax under this campaign or not.
Landlords with Multiple Blocks of Flats: Here, the landlords are recommended to set up a flat management company. This company is then liable to pay taxes and file annual records, for which they need a landlord tax accountant. From submission of account accounts to the Companies House to submitting tax returns to the HMRC, landlord tax accountants can take care of multiple requirements.
Some considerations when hiring a landlord accountant in the UK
Qualifications and Expertise: finding accountants specialised in UK property and real estate accounting who are members of professional bodies.
Local Knowledge: It is crucial to ensure that your accountant is well-versed in the regulations and tax laws of the specific region where your properties are situated.
Technology: Modern landlord accounting services and processes in the UK heavily utilize software. A proficient landlord accountant with expertise in property management software and accounting platforms can significantly streamline financial operations.
Communication Skills: It is important to select an accountant who has the ability to explain financial matters clearly and actively communicate with their clients.
Landlords Accountants can help with HMRC Let Property Campaign
The Let Property Campaign is a program aimed at residential property landlords. It helps them declare any previously undisclosed income from previous tax years.
Taxpayers can take the initiative to update their tax records through the Let Property Campaign by requesting to participate before being contacted by HMRC. It is advisable to voluntarily disclose tax information as this can result in decreased penalties and quicker resolution of issues.
What happens if you don’t declare rental income to HMRC? If you have rental income that you have not declared to HMRC, it is important to do so as soon as possible. Failing to declare this income may result in significant penalties, potentially costing you many thousands of Pounds.
Landlord Accountant Recommend Setting up an SPV Company
What is a special purpose vehicle (SPV)?
A special purpose vehicle (SPV) is essentially a dedicated limited company established for a specific objective. In the context of property investment, an SPV is utilised exclusively to acquire and lease properties.
It is advisable not to commingle your rental properties with another business, such as contracting or consulting, as this can complicate the mortgage application process. Lenders generally prefer properties to be held within a distinct SPV that is specifically established for property investment.
By setting up a separate SPV for this purpose, you can streamline the mortgage approval process and enhance your chances of obtaining financing for property investments.
How is an SPV different to personally owned buy-to-lets?
In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift among small investors towards using Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for purchasing buy-to-let properties.
This change can be attributed to alterations in tax legislation. The process of acquiring a property through an SPV closely resembles personal ownership, with the key distinction being that the property is owned by the company, and you possess ownership of the company itself.
This strategy has gained popularity due to the potential tax advantages and the ability to separate personal and business assets. The transition to using SPVs offers small investors an alternative approach to property investment, aligning with evolving market dynamics.
Whether you are a landlord owning a single property in the city or own hundreds of rental units, you have to stay compliant with the rules, pay taxes, and submit reports. With the help of a landlord tax accountant, all the requirements, tasks, and processes will be taken care of. As a result, the landlords will end up saving a lot of money and stay protected from the HMRC’s scanner.