Budget 2012 - Stay as you are for property people

AFS Team·27 March 2012·3 min read
Budget 2012 - Stay as you are for property people
Budget 2012 had few property tax changes for the ordinary landlord - with Chancellor George Osborne aiming his big guns at wealthy tax avoiders. Besides increasing income tax personal allowances, everything is steady as you go for student landlords and buy to let investors. Income tax on rents eases - with the personal allowance nudging towards that holy grail of £10,000 coveted by the Lib Dems. From April 2013, the allowance will be £9,203, which is worth around £220 a year to basic rate taxpayers after adjusting for inflation. Higher rate taxpayers are worse off as changes in tax thresholds brings another 300,000 earners in to the higher rate bracket, who will pay income tax at 40%. Despite mutterings from landlord groups and other vested bodies, like the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Chancellor did nothing to switch the tax model for property away from investment to ordinary business tax. Nor did he tinker with capital gains tax - which is expected to remain in the same 18%/28% tax format until after the next general election. Wealthy investors avoiding stamp duty by buying with a company suffer the most. An immediate 7% stamp duty banding triggers a £140,000 payment on homes worth over £2 million - and that leaps to 15% if the home is owned by a company. This closes a tax loophole that lets an offshore company own an expensive home - the owner then sells the company to a buyer and because the stamp rate on shares is less than that paid on property, a significant tax payment is avoided. “We will move without notice and retrospectively if stamp duty rules are continued to be broken,” the Chancellor told MPs in the House of Commons to a chorus of rousing cheers. He also revealed a couple of post budget surprises - consultation on an annual mansion tax on homes worth £2 million or more with legislation to follow in next year’s Finance Bill and a general avoidance rule aimed at closing opportunities for creative tax planning.