700,000 UK ‘Accidental’ Landlords Fail To Notify HMRC Of Renting Income

UK ‘Accidental’ landlords are those who had no intention of ever letting out a property but have done so for a variety of reasons, and HMRC claims that around 700,000 landlords have failed to declare rental income and their eventual tax bill is increasing daily.

The government set up a specialist task force in 2019 to track down landlords who had failed to declare their rental income with fines of 15% up to 100% for non-disclosure of rental income.

But according to the Let Property Campaign there could be some respite for those landlords who have not yet declared their ‘hidden’’ income and advises them how to tidy up their tax affairs.

Donna McCreadie a buy-to-let specialist at a chartered accountants, said: “The Let Property Campaign was originally launched in 2013, but many people are still unaware of its existence. I often have landlords coming to me who are really distressed or worried because, for some reason, their income from a rental property hasn’t been declared. Once I explain the mechanics of the Let Property Campaign to them, it really helps to ease the burden. We then work together to put a plan into action so that the tax owed can be settled with the minimum of fuss.”

The Let Property Campaign is a government initiative allowing those landlords to come forward and let HMRC know about any unpaid tax now. Having made contact landlords will be given a period of 90 days to pay their outstanding tax and will only incur a minimal penalty, the initiative covers landlords in these circumstances:

•    landlords with multiple properties
•    landlords with single rentals
•    those with student or workforce rentals
•    holiday lets
•    those renting a room out from their main home
•    those who live abroad for more than six months and rent out a property in the UK

However, it does not apply to those renting out a non-residential property, or for those disclosing income on behalf of a company or a trust.

Donna continues: “Tax on rental property can be a complex area so it’s important that landlords who are unsure seek professional guidance. A specialist accountant, for example, can guide you through the rules and regulations, help you calculate the tax owed and ensure any mitigating factors are correctly applied.

“I’d urge anyone who hasn’t declared their rental income to come forward as soon as possible so that any penalties are as minimal as possible.”

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