HM Revenue & Customs has moved to launch a 12-week consultation on a scheme which it claims will improve the simplicity of tax demands levied on lesser-scale buy-to-let investors.
The new proposal, if agreed, will see buy-to-let landlords with an annual rental income of below £10,000 not permitted to keep their business records digitally. In addition, landlords falling into this category will not have to provide quarterly updates to HMRC.
However, they will still be obliged to utilise the so-called ‘optional cash basis.’
If the proposal receives approval, it is likely to be introduced in the Finance Bill 2017, for full implementation in 2018 or later.
Through its wide-ranging digitisation programme Making Tax Digital, HMRC had been banking on landlords to utilise specialist software in order to keep detailed business records. These would then be submitted quarterly.
HMRC debating new tax regime for smaller BTL investors
The cash basis option will only be made available to simple property businesses. These include individual landlords and partnerships where partners are individuals.
This said, a statement from HMRC noted, ‘the option to use the cash basis will make budgeting for tax easier for landlords allowing them to better manage cashflows.’
Under the cash basis, buy-to-let landlords would only be permitted to declare their rental income for cash actually received. As part of the digital quarterly accounting scheme, they would be required to include the income that their tenants should have paid as income for the year-even if this rent had not been paid.