If you rent out property, you’ll need to pay tax on any profit you make. You can work this out by deducting all your allowable expenses from your rental income.
While it sounds like a simple calculation, tax on rental income can be complex to navigate – especially as different reliefs apply to different types of property let.
To ensure you don’t get caught out, here’s what you need to consider when it comes to paying tax on your rental income.
Do you have to pay income tax on rental income?
The short answer is yes, but rental income isn’t just the rent you receive, it includes any money you earn from letting out your property. This could be money kept from a deposit or money for services – for instance, if tenants pay for communal areas to be cleaned.
Let’s take an example:
- You receive £5,000 in rental income for the year
- You keep an additional £200 from your tenant’s deposit to cover repairs
- You also keep £100 for cleaning
- Your total rental income is £5,300.
When to declare tax on rental income
The good news is that if you rent out property you own personally, you’re entitled to a £1,000 property allowance. This is the income you’re allowed to receive, tax free and there’s no need to declare it to HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs).
If you earn anything between £1,000 and £2,500 from your rental, after allowable expenses, you’ll need to let HMRC know by contacting them directly – they may be able to collect the tax you owe via the PAYE system. Any income over £2,500 needs to be declared on a Self-Assessment tax return.
How much rent is taxable?
You’re only taxed on the profit you earn – this is your total rental income minus any allowable expenses.
Allowable expenses generally include anything you spend maintaining and managing your property, including:
- Letting agent fees
- Landlord insurance
- Utility bills
- Council tax
- Services you pay for such as cleaning and gardening
If you own more than one rental property in the UK, you can add all your allowable expenses together.
You may also be entitled to certain tax reliefs, but these vary according to the type of property you own. For instance, if you’re renting out residential property, including a furnished holiday let, you can also claim ‘replacement of domestic items relief’ which covers the cost of replacing items you provide, such as sofas, curtains and carpets.
If you own a holiday let, you can also deduct capital expenses which compensates you for equipment you own in order to run your holiday rental. This can include items like air conditioning and CCTV.
Commercial property also benefits from capital expenses for assets including lifts, escalators and electrical systems.
How much tax will I have to pay on my rental income?
Tax is charged depending on the band your income falls into. There are four bands:
- Your personal allowance – you pay 0% on earnings up to £12,500
- The basic rate – you pay 20% on earnings between £12,501 and £50,000
- The higher rate – you pay 40% on earnings between £50,001 and £150,000
- The additional rate – you pay 45% on anything over £150,000
It’s worth remembering that rental earnings could push you over the threshold into the next tax band. For example:
- You earn £45,000 from your day job
- You receive £8,000 in rent but have allowable expenses of £1,000
- Your total rental income is £7,000 (£8,000 minus £1,000)
- Your total income is £52,000
- As the higher rate tax threshold starts at £50,001, you’ll pay 40% tax on the £2,000 that tips you over the limit
Can I still get buy-to-let mortgage tax relief?
Mortgage tax relief has been slowly phased out and from April 2020 you won’t be able to deduct mortgage interest from your rental earnings. Instead, you’ll be offered a 20% tax credit.
National Insurance payments if you run a property business
If you’re running a property rental business with profits of more than £5,965, you’ll also need to pay Class 2 National Insurance. If your profits are less than this, you can make voluntary National Insurance payments that will enable you to claim the full State Pension.
You’re only considered to be running a property business if you meet all three of these criteria:
- Your main job is being a landlord
- You let more than one property
- You buy property specifically to rent out
When do I pay tax on rental income?
You’ll need to pay tax on the profits you make in each financial year (6 April to 5 April the following year).
If you’re filling out a paper Self-Assessment tax return, you’ll need to submit it by 31 October of the following financial year. Assessments completed online won’t need to be submitted until the 31st January. For example, paper returns for the year 2019-2020 will need to be submitted by 31 October 2020 or 31 January 2021 if done online.
Advice on getting it right
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to working out the tax you owe on your rental income. It’s also crucial to get it right because getting it wrong could result in hefty fines and penalties.
As independent insurance brokers and financial planners, we’re here to give you the advice you need to manage your money and your business. To find out how we can help, speak directly to a member of the team by calling 01223 324233. Whilst we can provide generic guidance in respect of tax, we aren’t accountants. Tax laws can change and so can your personal circumstances so you may need to seek advice from a qualified accountant. Please also bear in mind that he Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice.