Specialist buy to let lenders cracking down on tax avoidance

Published:  23 May at 6 PM
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In a new move, lenders specialising in buy-to-let mortgages are now refusing loans to landlords suspected of tax avoidance.

A leading property investment lender now fears beneficial interest mortgages may be in breach of HM Revenue and Customs’ rules on tax avoidance and are cracking down on landlords as a result. These specialist mortgages involve the transferring of a rental property’s legal ownership to a limited company whilst retaining full control of proceeds from sale and profits on rentals. Professionals in the sector are in discussion as to whether the method is likely to breach HMRC’s anti-avoidance laws.

Buy-to-let property investments are favourites for expat professionals working overseas who want their money to work as hard as they do, both as regards rental income and capital appreciation in the UK’s property market. Due to industry concerns about unconventional mortgages, only 10 of the 65 lenders offering buy-to-let loans to expats are sanctioning mortgages set up with a benefit interest tax strategy.

Across the British housing market in general, letting agents are now quitting the high street due to rule changes and new government regulations. Other are merging as the new tenant fee deadline of June 1 creeps closer, even although there are more properties up for rent than ever before. Combined with landlords selling up as property prices fall and rents rise, tenants may find suitable, affordable rentals far more difficult to find than in previous years.
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