A property accountant is warning that ‘accidental landlords’ may not have been aware of the complexity of property taxation and so may have not declared all or part of their rental income to HMRC.
Donna McCreadie, a buy to let specialist at Perrys Chartered Accountants, says that in 2019 the government began investing heavily in a specialist task force to hunt for landlords who had not been declaring rental income.
She warns: “Penalties for undisclosed income can be hefty, ranging from 15 per cent up to 100 per cent of the rental income in some cases. However, all is not lost. For landlords who haven’t yet had the opportunity to declare previously unreported income, the [HMRC] Let Property Campaign is giving landlords the chance to get their tax affairs in order.”
The Let Property Campaign is a government initiative which allows landlords to tell HMRC about any unpaid tax; after disclosure landlords then have 90 days to work out and pay what they owe with minimal penalties.
It covers landlords in with single rentals or multiple properties, letting to students or what are called “workforce rentals”, landlords of holiday lets or those letting out rooms, or those who live abroad for more than six months and rent out a property in the UK.
The campaign does not apply to those letting out most commercial income, or those disclosing income on behalf of a company or trust.
McCreadie feels taking advantage of this campaign and declaring previously undeclared income may be particularly useful to so-called accidental landlords who may have not intended to be long-term buy to let owners.
Some 700,000 landlords are estimated not to be paying some or any tax on their income, according to HMRC.
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