The fight to challenge George Osborne’s unfair changes to Mortgage Interest Relief for buy-to-let landlords continues apace, with landlords being asked to lobby their MPs ahead of this year’s budget.
The changes to MIR will cut the amount of tax that landlords can claim back on their property investments – and the Residential Landlords Association believes it could mean buying and renting out property is no longer viable for some landlords.
Currently, landlords can claim tax relief of up to 45 per cent depending on their tax band. But under the new system, clause 24 of the Finance Act 2015, thousands of buy-to-let landlords will see the amount they can claim as relief set at the basic rate of tax for all landlords – currently 20 per cent.
Not only that, but Mortgage Interest will be considered as taxable income – meaning many basic rate taxpayers will be pushed into a higher tax band.
The changes have been dubbed a tax on turnover.
The Government claims the changes, set to be phased in from April 2017, will only affect a small number of landlords. However research from the RLA shows that 60 per cent of our landlords will be hit.
Cherie Blair’s law firm Omina Strategy is acting on behalf of a group of landlords opposing clause 24 – on human rights and tax law grounds.
The RLA is an interested party, but after seeking legal advice ourselves were warned there was little chance of success if we pursued a judicial review. As a result of this we are taking the political route and lobbying for changes to the legislation.
The RLA directors have met the Chancellor and Treasury officials to make our case and have briefed MPs and Peers on the issue. Most recently RLA policy director David Smith met with Lord Howard Flight, who has secured a debate on the contribution of the private rented sector to the country’s housing needs.
RLA Chairman Alan Ward said: “We are campaigning for the new measures to be applied to new borrowing only, to minimise the impact of these changes on established landlords and businesses.
“Some landlords have massive debts and to be expected to restructure their portfolio to this extent is unrealistic. The private rented sector has a vital role to play in meeting the country’s housing needs and if the Government wants to rely on it then it must support it.”
Now is the last chance for landlords to contact their MP to lobby for change.
Click here to visit the RLA campaigns page.