Article by GoSimpleTax
Life can be busy when you’re a landlord. Leaving aside managing your property and tenants, many landlords must also cope with the demands of a job or running a business. Then there’s your own domestic and family responsibilities.
The last thing you need hanging over you is a tax return to complete, but we’re steadily approaching that time of year again, when the midnight 31 January online filing deadline for Self Assessment tax return begins to loom in the near distance.
Time to sort out your Self Assessment tax return
Few landlords look forward to doing their Self Assessment tax returns. It’s not enjoyable, even if you do have a head for figures. Many people leave it until January, but that increases the chances of missing the deadline and having to pay a £100 fine.
About 600,000 people missed last year’s Self Assessment tax return online-filing deadline, but that was a huge improvement on the 2.3m who missed the 31 January 2022 deadline, caused largely by the impact of the pandemic.
You can file your Self Assessment tax return any time after the tax year ends on 5 April. And rather than face the stress of battling the deadline in January, you could get it done now. There really is no time like the present.
Assuming that you’re an existing landlord who is already registered for Self Assessment, here are six tips that could help you to complete your Self Assessment tax quicker.
1 Collect the information you need to complete your Self Assessment tax return
If you spend time in advance gathering all of the information you need to complete your Self Assessment tax return, you’ll get the job done much quicker. As a landlord you’ll need your ten-digit URT (Unique Taxpayer Reference), which enables HMRC to identify you. You will have included your UTR in previous tax returns.
You must also know how much gross rental income you’ve received during the tax year, and what property rental expenses you wish to claim as allowable expenses. You’ll need your National Insurance number and summary details of any income you’ve received from self-employment and other taxable sources, such as share dividend payments, pension payments, capital gains, etc, as well as summaries of costs you wish to claim as tax expenses.
If you’re employed, find your last P60, because it will show how much you’ve been paid and how much has been deducted in tax and National Insurance. If you’ve lost your P60, ask your employer for a replacement copy. If you’ve made contributions to charity or pensions that qualify for tax relief, have details of these to hand, too.
2 Be clear about which tax return supplementary pages you must complete
As well as the main Self Assessment tax return (the SA100 form), landlords must complete the SA105 supplementary pages, where you will detail your rental income and landlord-related tax expenses that you wish to claim. If you’re also a sole trader, you’ll need to also include the SA103 supplementary pages. Depending on your other taxable income sources, you may need to include other supplementary pages (visit government website GOV.UK to view a full list).
3 Pick the right time and place to fill out your Self Assessment tax return
You’ll complete your Self Assessment tax return much quicker if you do it at the right time in the right place, away from distractions and interruptions that will slow you down. If you can find a calm, isolated place, it can really help you to concentrate on the job in hand. If you must do it at home and live with others, ask them not to disturb you so you can concentrate fully on completing your tax return. Switch off your phone and any other potential distractions.
4 Get your Self Assessment tax return done in one session
If you do it in a series of shorter sessions, it will take you more time. You could find yourself putting it off and delaying it. Show more discipline. Remain determined to do it in one sitting (unless there really is no other option). If you’ve already gathered all of the information you need, completing your Self Assessment tax return should take just three or four hours. Don’t rush, because mistakes will be more likely. Be methodical. Build in enough time to check your tax return at the end.
5 Save time and money by using Self Assessment tax return-filing software
You can fill out and file your Self Assessment tax return online via GOV.UK. You’ll need to sign in using your Government Gateway user ID and password. The big drawback is you’re literally on your own. The only guidance available comes from notes HMRC publishes online, which may or may not help you.
Another popular option is to use commercial Self Assessment tax return-filing software, which can make things much easier and quicker. Basically, you specify the taxable income you need to report and the software guides you through relevant sections of the tax return, while ensuring that supplementary pages are completed. Automatic prompts reveal what information you need to enter and where, which makes mistakes less likely. Expect to pay about sixty quid or so for the year, which is significantly cheaper than an accountant, while still saving you lots of time and hassle.
6 Reach out for support to complete your Self Assessment tax return
If you really hate the idea of doing your own tax return, especially with a deadline approaching, and you can afford it, obviously, a suitably experienced accountant will complete and file your Self Assessment tax return for you, which will save you the time and hassle. If your return is simple enough, it should cost you £150-£250. If your tax return is more complex, you’ll pay more, depending on how much work is required.
Even if you do your own Self Assessment tax return, for a fee, an expert will look at your tax return and let you know if there are any mistakes. Such service providers charge about £100-£200, but you might pay less tax as a result, so it can be worthwhile.
We all want to complete things we don’t like doing as soon as possible. But you really shouldn’t rush when it comes to your tax return, because even seemingly small mistakes can have big consequences. At very least, later, you may need to correct them, which will only waste more of your time. More haste, less speed.
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It is the solution for landlords, the self-employed, sole traders, freelancers and anyone with income outside of PAYE.
The software will provide you with hints and tips that could save you money on allowances and expenses you may have missed.
Get started with GoSimpleTax , it’s free to try.
New legislation came into force on 01 December 2023, putting an end to the practice of disaggregating houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and clarifying who is responsible for council tax.
Disaggregation is the process by which the Valuation Office (VOA) can ‘split’ a HMO into single units for council tax purposes, meaning landlords and tenants were liable to pay the council tax for each room, rather than for the property as a whole.
Splitting the property in this way often meant that tenants paid significantly more council tax than they normally would. It also placed the landlord at a competitive disadvantage as disaggregation was not applied uniformly, meaning that some properties on the same street would be significantly more expensive than others.
Following a consultation earlier this year – and campaigning by the HMO Council Tax Reform Group – this practice will now come to an end, reducing council tax bills for some tenants and giving certainty to landlords.
What has changed?
Landlords can now expect a HMO to have a single council tax bill. The regulations also make the landlord liable for council tax in all HMO properties, regardless of whether it is let on a joint tenancy or by the room. Given this, HMO landlords should factor council tax in for their rents going forward, if they are not doing so already.
Where the property is currently split, with multiple council tax bills sent out, the Government will ‘reaggregate’ it, to create one rebanded council tax bill.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has confirmed that if tenants are in arrears with council tax because of disaggregation, councils should offer discounts on the council tax bill until the issue is sorted out and the property reaggregated.
If you have a licensed HMO property that has been disaggregated, you should not have to do anything to start the process.
The VOA has written to local authorities asking for a list of all licensed HMOs in their area.
The VOA should contact affected landlords by the end of January 2024 to inform you of the new council tax banding.
HMOs that do not require a licence
If your HMO is unlicensed (as it does not require one) the onus will be on you to contact the VOA to challenge the current banding.
The VOA should then respond to the challenge within four months, with a new council tax band for the whole property.
Rooms with self-contained facilities – e.g. a bathroom and kitchenette, will continue to attract their own council tax.
Article Abridged from NRLA
Good news for landlords earning under £30,000 a year – the government have no plans to make them use the HMRC’s MTD scheme. The announcement came in paperwork released following the Autumn Statement.
As it stands, landlords with an income over £50,000 will still have to join MTD from April 2026, followed by those earning over £30,000, from April 2027.
A statement on the HMRC website says it will “keep under review the decision on further mandation of businesses and landlords with income below £30,000”,
MTD is HMRC’s plan to digitise the tax system for VAT, Income Tax Self Assessment and Corporation Tax for businesses and individuals. MTD aims to make tax returns simpler and more efficient.
Just a year ago, landlords and others were given an extension to the deadline for using the software. Now landlords earning under £30,000 a year are completely exempt (for now).
HMRC adds: “The government remains committed to delivering MTD for Income Tax Self Assessment and believes this is central to building a trusted, modern tax administration system and supporting small business productivity.
Higher earning landlords who do have to join the system from 2026 onwards must submit quarterly summary data to HMRC, rather than one larger end of year self assessment. This will have to be submitted via special software.
Article Abridged from Landlord Today
Some takeaways from Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement –
Unfreezing Local Housing Allowance Rates. LHA to cover at least 30% of local market rents. The government has stated that this will give 1.6 million households an average of an extra £800 per year.
Self-employed landlords and letting agents to receive tax cuts. The cuts include an abolishment of class 2 national insurance for self-employed people earning over £12,750 per year. This means that affected self-employed people will not need to pay a current compulsory charge of £3.45 a week – saving around £192 a year. Meanwhile, self-employed people who pay class 4 national insurance will now pay 8% (rather than 9%) on all earnings. Taken together, these measures will save self-employed landlords and letting agents up to £350.
Measures to support increased homebuilding. This may alleviate pressures on the sector. The government has committed to spending more money on building new homes and relaxing planning rules. The Chancellor committed to investing £110 million into “nutrient mitigation schemes”, which could lead to the building of 40,000 more homes. There was also a commitment for £450 million worth of funding to local authorities to build 2,400 new homes, and a £32 million investment to tackle planning backlogs in Cambridge, London, and Leeds.
Opportunities for property developers, including converting houses to flats. Intention to consult on a new permitted development right, enabling any home to be converted into two flats, so long as “the exterior remains unaffected”. Meanwhile, homebuilders may benefit from new premium planning services across England with guaranteed accelerated decision dates for major applications, and fee refunds wherever these are not met.
Smaller agencies to benefit from business rate relief. The small business multiplier has been frozen for a further year. This affects small businesses – likely agencies – whose rateable value is under £15,000. These rates may impact independent high street agencies, with Jeremy Hunt stating that these measures would save the average independent shop more than £20,000 over the next year.
Higher wages for lower earning tenants and property professionals. Confirmed increases of almost 10% to the National Living Wage, from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour. The National Living Wage is the minimum hourly pay workers receive, and has now been expanded to include anyone 21 years old and above. More than 2.7 million workers will benefit from this increase, which may impact tenant affordability.
One pension pot for life to affect entire rented sector. Multiple announcements were made regarding pensions, including a commitment to the ‘triple lock’ which increases the full state pension by up to £221.20 a week (up by 8.5%).
The government-backed 95% Mortgage Guarantee Scheme has been extended until the end of June 2025 – 18 months longer than previously agreed.
Universal Credit and other benefits to rise from April by 6.7%.
Article Abridged from GoodLord & Landlord Today
On 07 September 2023 the government released a publication named ‘Understanding and addressing the health risks of damp and mould in the home’. The publication highlights the serious negative health implications which damp and mould can pose. Further it provides detail on the legal responsibilities placed on landlords to ensure that accommodation they provide is free from serious hazards and fit for habitation.
If tenants report damp or mould within their home, landlords must address the problem promptly.
Visit the property and identify the cause of the problem, if you cannot identify the problem, you can instruct a damp surveyor to create a report.
Once damp and mould have been identified, it is essential that the mould is removed promptly, reducing health risks for tenants.
Mould can be removed from hard surfaces with an appropriate cleaning product and should be left to dry completely. Mould and mildew products should be used in preference to bleach, for health and safety reasons. Absorbent materials such as carpets, soft furnishings and ceiling tiles may have to be thrown away if they become mouldy, as it may be difficult or impossible to remove the mould completely. While most tenants could reasonably be expected to remove condensation and very small amounts of mould using an appropriate mould and mildew cleaner, larger areas of mould should only be addressed by qualified professionals. When identifying an experienced contractor, landlords should check training, qualifications and references. Regardless of the extent of mould, the person removing the mould should wear protective equipment, such as a mask, gloves and goggles, in order to avoid contact with mould spores or cleaning products.
If the problem is structural or through faulty installation, you must make a repair as timely as possible. Keep the tenant informed of actions and time frames. If the following problems are present, you must make repairs; leaking internal pipes, not enough ventilation, broken boilers and heating systems, cracked or rotten window frames, leaking roofs/faulty guttering, faulty extractor fans, external and internal structural defects. Fix any damage caused by the damp e.g., redecorate/clean carpets etc. You should check in around 6 weeks after the repairs are made to ensure that the problem has been resolved.
If the problem is not structural and not through faulty insulation – it’s likely that condensation is causing the damp/mould. It happens when moisture in the air meets a cold surface, like a window or an external wall. Tenants can do the following to keep condensation to a minimum; open windows regularly, use pans lids when cooking, dry clothes outside or use a dryer, close internal doors when you cook or shower, use extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom, leave a gap between furniture and external walls, wipe visible condensation from windowsills each morning. Condensation is worse in cold properties, fuel affordability could be a contributing factor – encourage tenants to keep in touch with Shelter, Citizens Advice and the Local Authority if they are struggling with the rising cost of living.
There is help for tenants depending on their situation. https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/benefits/help_with_gas_and_electric_bills
Here is a brilliant damp and mould video by Plymouth Energy Community – many of our members have sent the video to their tenants to increase awareness of condensation and mould in the home.
Article Abridged from Plymouth City Council, gov.uk and Shelter
Plymouth Citizens Advice have created a booklet for tenants to highlight landlord and tenants repair/maintenance responsibilities. Landlords may like to share the booklet with their tenants to encourage the reporting of repairs and to make it clear who is responsible for what in the tenants home.
Wednesday 13th December – 3pm until 6pm – All SWLA members welcome for a mince pie and a catch up!
This month’s 30 minute Ashley Taylors Legal Webinar looks at ‘Disrepair Claims’ – an easy option for delaying possessions claims and in fact, there are now TV adverts encouraging compensation claims for tenants. Learn how to minimise these.
When: Thursday 9th November 2023 2.15pm – 2.45pm
Topic: Avoiding and Minimizing Disrepair Claims
Register in advance for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS NOT AN SWLA WEBINAR
A note from the host – Martyn Taylor;
I have seen so many cases in the last nine months of tenants raising disrepair either in possession actions or bringing actions against their landlords for disrepair in ever increasing numbers that I am moved to make my next talk about how you can minimise these.
It’s not so much that I have seen a significant rise in disreputable landlords, it’s more that many of these claims could have been undermined from the outset if Landlords or Managing Agents had been shown ways to combat these claims. Many of you do know your duties and operate systems to do what is right but the way claims are brought means that you feel the playing field is not level. It’s not! That’s why we need to discuss this from my perspective to help you help me for a better outcome.
This talk is deigned to do just that.
Deals now live! Online and in store. SWLA TradePoint members receive an extra 10% off these prices. For all deals see the TradePoint website;
The Government announced on 20th October 2023, the planned abolition will not occur until there are significant improvements in the court processes for legitimate possession cases. The Government has committed to improve the process before moving forward with any changes to the Section 21.
The key points;
Landlords can therefore continue to use the Section 21 notice, this however is a postponement not a cancellation.
Thanks our 54 members and guests who braved the bad weather to attend our latest speaker meeting at The Future Inn, Plymouth! It was great to chat to members old and new and listen to our excellent speakers.
We had Claire Weeks of Coast Inventories, a very experienced and professional inventory clerk who many of our members use for their inventories. It seems that inventories are becoming more and more important for landlords who want to really protect themselves and their investment, especially with upcoming legislation changes. Coast Inventories – South West Landlords Association (landlordssouthwest.co.uk)
We also had David Aggiss kindly returning to speak to our members, after speaking at our online meetings in lockdown. A captive audience enjoyed hearing the current trends and changes in the mortgage market – gaining knowledge about borrowing and the different ways to achieve their financial aims. Three Sixty Mortgages – South West Landlords Association (landlordssouthwest.co.uk)
We also had TradePoint/B&Q attend, reminding our members about the 10% discount for SWLA members. For details on how to apply, please contact the SWLA office.
We look forward to our next meeting!
Tuesday 6th February 2024 – 9:15 – 4:30pm
Venue – Reception Room, Plymouth Council House, Armada Way, Plymouth PL1 2AA
Price – £65 for members of SWLA, £75 for non – members for one day course.
Course covers ASTs, Deposits, Section 21s, Section 8s, HMOs, Gas and Electrical Safety, Inventories and much more.
The course will provide you with all the skills to start, manage and finish a tenancy.
Places still available. Contact the office on 01752 510913 or via the website to book your place, places secured on receipt of payment.
Over 1185 landlords have already completed this course since September 2011.
Course can lead to Accreditation, if required.
We are proud to announce Landlord Accreditation South West (LASW) are founder members of the West of England Rental standard.
This month’s 30 minute Ashley Taylors Legal Webinar looks at this Bill as currently drafted, it will give you a view of what to expect operationally and how it will actually work in practice.
When: Wednesday 18 October 2023 2.15pm – 2.45pmTopic: The Renters Reform Bill Register in advance for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS NOT AN SWLA WEBINAR
SWLA TradePoint members will receive their usual 10% off on top.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove has suggested that the Bill is scheduled for its Second Reading later this autumn. Addressing Conservative conference delegates at a Centre for Policy Studies meeting, Gove dismissed rumours of opposition from some Tory backbenchers and reiterated the government’s commitment to the legislation.
The Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, Ben Beadle, was at the meeting and expressed his support on social media……
“The backbench concerns of rental reform are not the view of the government, says @michaelgove, with the Second Reading scheduled for the autumn. Delighted to hear him speak so strongly on the need for responsible #landlords and @NRLAssociation campaigning.”
You can follow the Bill’s progress here; https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3462
The SWLA President, Chairman and Office Manager held a meeting in their offices, 03 October 2023, with Councillor Chris Penberthy (Cabinet Member for Community Connections), Matt Garrett (Service Director for Community Connections) and Dave Ryland (Strategic Manager for Community Connections).
On the agenda;
Lots of constructive conversations and more meetings planned.
The How to Rent Guide was updated and republished on 02 October 2023.
The changes are as follows;
”The How to Rent guide has been updated with advice on how to access free legal aid services, advice and support, regardless of financial circumstances.”
Any tenancies that began on or after 02 October 2023 are affected, ensure that this new version is supplied to your tenants at the start of the tenancy or before.
Always print the How to Rent Guide from the gov.uk website to ensure that you are providing the most up to date version.
PATH (Plymouth Access to Housing) are seeking properties in Plymouth for people in need of housing. There are many families with children and single people in temporary accommodation looking for a home.
All residential properties considered, rooms, flats, HMOs and houses.
There are numerous benefits and letting options for landlords who work with PATH including;
For more information please contact PATH;
email@example.com 01752 293719
When: Tuesday 26 September 2023 11:30am – 12.20pmTopic: Changes to the HHSRS and the new Damp and Mould Guidelines Register in advance for this webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_epS3xNJiQ26SSn0cI9lQWgAfter registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS NOT AN SWLA WEBINAR
The Prime Minister announced that the proposed plans, which would require landlords to upgrade private rented properties to EPC band C by 2025 or 2028, would be scrapped. The sector was awaiting confirmation following a consultation under Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations about when properties would be required to meet EPC band C for all new and existing tenancies.
This move leaves landlords with no long-term clarity around what is expected of them and by when energy efficiency upgrades would now be required. It is important to realise that the current standard is for rental properties to be E or above- this still remains in place. It was unclear in the speech whether the ambition on non-domestic building is also being delayed.
It’s been a while since we last met with Alison, so we had lots of catching up to do. Items on the agenda included the lack of housing both in the Private Rented Sector and Student Sector, unrealistically low Local Housing Allowance rates, the high number of possession cases and landlords exiting the market (due to tax changes, mortgage rate changes and legislation changes).
We invited Alison to our next face to face Landlord Accreditation course which will be held in Plymouth in February.
Article by GoSimpleTax
It’s an all too familiar scene for many sole traders, landlords and other Self Assessment taxpayers. Despite leaving it until a week or two before the online-filing deadline on 31 January, you’re not too worried about completing your Self Assessment tax return. What could possibly go wrong?
Then you make a start, believing it will take you no time to get it all done and dusted, but you soon come to an abrupt stop. You haven’t got all of the necessary information to hand. You start to feel frustrated.
The minutes turn to hours and you have to put off making any progress with your Self Assessment tax return, because you need to go away and get together key information. You leave it for a few days. The online-filing deadline gets closer and you begin to worry. You forgot that as with many things in life – sound preparation is key to successfully completing your Self Assessment tax return. So, what’s the best way to prepare for doing your Self Assessment tax return?
What if you’re not already registered?
How to prepare to fill in your Self Assessment tax return
1 Decide how you’re going to file
About 12m people file a Self Assessment tax return each year and only 385,000 of them (3.2%) use paper forms. HMRC wants to phase out paper Self Assessment tax returns as much as possible, preferring for taxpayers to keep digital tax records and file their tax returns online. Completing a paper tax return takes longer and it’s a pretty arduous task, while mistakes can be more likely, which could mean you’ll need to start again.
Filling in and filing your Self Assessment tax return online is quicker and easier, with mistakes less likely, especially if you use Self Assessment tax return-filing software. Automatic prompts tell you which figures you need to enter and where, which provides additional peace of mind and may even help to ensure that you don’t pay too much tax.
Need to know! Some Self Assessment taxpayers can only use filing software to submit their tax return digitally, one example being expats with UK rental income to report. Filing software can cost just £50 or so for the tax year.
2 Know what supplementary pages you need to submit
As well as the main SA100 tax return, you may have to fill out and submit supplementary pages to report taxable income and tax expenses. Different types of taxable income have different supplementary pages, which each have their own number. The most common examples include SA103 Self-employment, SA105 UK Property and SA108 Capital Gains Summary. If you have more than one self-employed role that generates taxable income, you’ll need to complete an SA103 for each.
Need to know! Supplementary pages can be downloaded from government website GOV.UK or conveniently accessed via Self Assessment filing software.
3 Make sure that you know your UTR
In your SA100, you’ll need to include your 10-digit UTR (ie Unique Taxpayer Reference), which you’re given when you register for Self Assessment. It will be stated on your previous tax return, if you’ve submitted one. You’ll also need to state your National Insurance number.
Need to know! If you can’t find your UTR, you can also call HMRC on 0300 200 3310 for assistance. You’ll need to have some information to hand for security questions, such as your personal details and your National Insurance number.
4 Get together other vital information
When filling in your Self Assessment tax return other information you need can include:
Need to know! The above information should be relevant only to the tax year in which you are reporting taxable income to HMRC.
5 Get your expenses in order
You’ll also need summaries of your “allowable expenses”, which are costs that you can claim as tax expenses that relate to taxable income earned from self-employment, renting out property, overseas income, a business partnership, etc.
Claiming allowable expenses will reduce your tax bill. If you’ve been organised and you’ve been recording your allowable expenses throughout the tax year in a spreadsheet or accounting software, this will be simple to do. If not, having to wade through piles of sales receipts, invoices and bank/credit card statements could take a while, which is another reason why you should complete your tax return long before the filing deadline.
Need to know! If you’re not already doing so, start recording your costs into a spreadsheet or accounting software regularly, so that claiming them as tax expenses becomes much less time-consuming, while also giving you a better idea of your spending and expenses.
6 Find out which personal tax allowances you can claim
Personal tax allowances are amounts you can earn or receive in income without paying tax. The main UK personal tax allowances are available to sole traders and landlords, while others are available only in certain circumstances. HMRC won’t tell you if you can claim a personal tax allowance, you must find out for yourself if you plan to fill out your own Self Assessment tax return. The most common personal tax allowances are:
Don’t wait – file now!
Getting your Self Assessment tax return completed and filed as soon as possible is highly recommended. You can file any time after the end of the tax year (5 April) in which you received taxable income, there really is no need to leave it until weeks, days or hours before the online-filing deadline (midnight on 31 January).
Filing early doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay your tax bill sooner, but you will be able to find out how much tax you owe. You may even find out that you’re due a tax rebate. Getting your Self Assessment tax return out of the way earlier could certainly make your life much less stressful.
Income, Expenses and tax submission all in one. GoSimpleTax will provide you with tips that could save you money on allowances and expenses you might have missed.
Our software submits directly to HMRC and is the digital solution for Landlords to record income, expenses and file their self-assessment giving hints on savings along the way.
Covering all self-assessment pages, not just property, GoSimpleTax does all the calculations for you.
Article by GoSimpleTax
Wednesday 18th October 2023 @ 7.30pm Future Inn Plymouth, members and their guests welcome