Landlords targeted over undeclared income from residential property

Landlords are being targeted by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) over what appears to be undeclared rental income or income related to residential property. 

HMRC’s Wealthy External Forum sent 606 letters to landlords who have submitted deposits into a tenancy deposit scheme, questioning them about understating their rental income. 

Landlords and letting agents are required by law to protect tenant deposits on rental property in a Government-approved tenancy deposit scheme. 

The Housing Act 2004 law applies to landlords who let under assured shorthold tenancies, usually used to let residential properties. 

Check and correct tax return 

The HMRC nudge letters are based on information received from other Governmental departments, banks or, in this case, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). 

HMRC believes it will be able to estimate the total rental income for the year, based on the level of the deposits placed within the scheme. A deposit usually amounts to four to five weeks of gross rent 

The letter urges the taxpayer to check and correct their 2020/21 tax return, and their 2021/22 return if it has already been submitted.  

The HMRC letter reminds landlords that if they have disposed of the property, they must declare that sale or disposal, and pay capital gains tax (CGT) on any profit they have made. 

The Government approved  tenancy deposit schemes in England and Wales are: 

These organisations all have privacy policies that allow them to share data with certain Government departments, but the Tenancy Deposit Scheme says it will “submit any details requested by HMRC or other Government agency or local authority under the relevant legislation.”  

HMRC has made such a request to one or more of the deposit protection schemes, and received data about landlords who have placed deposits with those schemes.  

HMRC says the letter does not open a tax enquiry or compliance check, but it does ask the taxpayer to correct their 2020/21 tax return within 30 days. 

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