Budget Briefing for Letting Agents – the key announcements

3 March 2021 | Renting

This afternoon’s Budget has seen dramatic announcements from Chancellor Rishi Sunak referring to the private rental sector.

For landlords buying properties, the stamp duty holiday on properties up to £500,000 will be extended from March 31 to June 30; from July 1, the holiday will apply only on properties up to £250,000 until the end of September. It will not be until October 1 that the pre-Covid stamp duty thresholds and levels will resume.

However, for purchases from the start of July until the end of September the maximum SDLT saving will be just £2,500 – sizeably less than the £15,000 saving possible under the current holiday, which continues until the end of June. So far no details have been released on whether these dates will end with the hated ‘cliff edge’ or will be tapered to avoid a last minute disappointment for some buyers.

But landlords who have incorporated as well as letting agency businesses will be disappointed to know that Corporation Tax is to soar from 19 per cent to 25 per cent from April 2023. There will be changes to how it is applied, especially for smaller companies, but this is likely to affect the trend towards buy to let investors incorporating.

There has been no announcement on Capital Gains Tax, prompting speculation this will be the subject of extensive consultation on radical changes, beginning on March 23 with the release of so-called ‘tax day’ proposals.

Meanwhile Chancellor Sunak has also confirmed that there will be government-guaranteed 95 per cent mortgage loans available for buyers from next month, on the purchase of properties up to the value of £600,000; however, this is thought not to apply to investment purchases.

There is additional good news for most letting agencies: Sunak also says there will be a 100 per cent business rates holiday until the end of June; thereafter business rates will be discounted by two thirds up to a maximum of £2m for larger businesses.

Other measures announced today include: 

– Furlough to be extended until the end of September, with higher employer contibutions from July;

– 600,000 more self-employed people will be eligible for help as access to grants will be broadened;

– £20 uplift in Universal Credit to be extended for another six months;

– Minimum wage to increase to £8.91 an hour from April;

– No changes to rates of income tax, national insurance or VAT BUT…thresholds to be frozen, meaning long-term ‘stealth taxes’;

– Personal income tax allowance to be frozen at £12,570 from 2022 to 2026;

– Higher rate income tax threshold to be frozen at £50,270 from 2022 to 2026;

– Corporation tax on company profits to soar from 19 to 25 per cent in April 2023, although some relief for smaller companies; 

– Apprenticeship grants to rise to £3,000;

– VAT reduced for hospitality firms to be maintained at five per cent until September;

– Interim 12.5 VAT rate to apply to hospitality thereafter, to the hospitality sector, for the following six months;

– Business rates holiday for firms in England will continue from April until June;

– No rise this year in fuel or alcohol duties;

– Re-opening grants for non-essential businesses of up to £6,000 for most premises, and £18,000 in exceptional circumstances;

– Another £400m to help arts venues in England to reopen and £300m for professional sport and £25m for grassroots football to reopen;

– An additional £19m for domestic violence programmes and £40m for Thalidomide victims;

– If you have questions about the Budget, why not see if you can ask Sunak himself? He’s staging a news conference at 5pm and you can submit questions at gov.uk/ask 

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.