Buy-to-Let – the tax change conundrum

There has been a rush of property transactions in recent weeks as those in the buy-to-let market try to minimise the impact of the upcoming tax changes from April 2016 and beyond. The main changes surround;- the restriction of interest tax relief on buy-to-let mortgages from the current marginal rates from 2017 to 20% by 2020, the annual wear and tear allowance of 10% scrapped and replaced with relief based on actual invoiced repairs, additional stamp duty of 3% on property purchases, (all second homes and buy-to-let properties), and the plan to apply Capital Gains Tax, (CGT), to investments within 30 days of sale. The latter is under consultation but could be implemented by 2019 and potentially would be a cash flow pressure on sellers if they were unable to mitigate gains with CGT losses.

The above, coupled with potential rises in interest rates could have a dramatic impact on those buy-to-let investors who rely on the rental income to cover the cost of loans and repairs. What were considered good profit margins on second home rentals may transform them into loss making, with a consequence that selling could become an option. Significant selling of properties in this market could have a negative impact on house prices in general, which may be seen as no bad thing for those wanting to buy either their first home or move up the property ladder.

With the Chancellors budget due in mid-March, where ratification of the April tax changes or further tinkering of tax may impact the buy-to-let market, planning for this year and the next few years should be uppermost in the minds of those with one or more properties.

Planning for your business is equally important as personal planning and sometimes the two are part of an integrated strategy.

MW Interim Finance delivers independent interim financial and business partnering support to owner managed SME’s, either on a full-time project or part-time basis, working with directors and entrepreneurs to deliver operational and strategic objectives.

For further information or a confidential discussion about your specific requirements, please contact Martin Walby FCMA CGMA on + 44 (0) 7876 566875 or email