TAX RELIEF FOR LETTING A ROOM IN YOUR HOME

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1 7 September 2011 TAX RELIEF FOR LETTING A ROOM IN YOUR HOME A Consultation Document Issued by: 2 nd Floor Government Office Buck s Road Douglas IM1 3TX

2 Index Page 1. Introduction Background Summary of the proposed scheme Proposed rules The individual or couple Exceptions The property Meaning of only or family home Moving home during the tax year Leaving or moving to the Island The income received Expenses How to claim Exclusions Before applying for relief Summary Submissions... 4

3 TAX RELIEF FOR LETTING A ROOM IN YOUR HOME A Consultation Document 1. Introduction The Treasury Minister, Anne Craine MHK, said in her Budget speech of 15 February 2011: Finally Mr President I have been giving some thought to how we can assist those on fixed incomes, perhaps living on their own, with the costs they face, and improve their quality of life at the same time. I would also like to increase the supply of rental accommodation. The ability to rent a room, and receive an income, would be, I believe, a great assistance to both those with space, and those looking for somewhere to live. I have asked the Assessor of Income Tax to issue a consultation document on how such a scheme may be introduced in a future budget. The purpose of this consultation is to outline a proposed scheme, and to seek views and comments on it. 2. Background The United Kingdom and Ireland both operate rent-a-room schemes whereby taxpayers can receive a certain amount of income from letting rooms in their home free of tax. These schemes are complicated, however, and with this in mind our proposal shares some features of the United Kingdom and Ireland approaches but also differs from them in several respects. 3. Summary of the proposed scheme We are proposing that an individual will be able to receive tax-free income of up to 1,500 per year from letting one or more rooms in their own home to private tenants for residential purposes. Similarly, a married couple or civil partners who are jointly assessed for tax (both referred to in this document as a couple ) will be able to receive tax-free income of up to 3,000 per year. These figures refer to gross income received before the payment of any expenses. If the letting income exceeds these limits, the amount above the specified maximum will be subject to income tax in the normal way. 4. Proposed rules 4.1 The individual or couple To be able to use the scheme, it is proposed that an individual or couple must: (a) be resident in the Isle of Man; (b) own the home of which the room, or rooms, form a part; and (c) live in the home at the same time as any lodger (in practice, a number of exceptions to this requirement may be needed see below). Issued: 7 September 2011 Page 1

4 4.1.1 Exceptions Examples of exceptions to the requirement proposed in 4.1 (c) could include: periods of absence from the Island of no longer than 40 consecutive days; periods of absence due to hospitalisation. We would welcome suggestions about what might be reasonable exceptions. 4.2 The property The accommodation being let can be in either a house or a flat. In addition: (a) the property must be in the Isle of Man; (b) the property must be the only or family home of the individual or couple who own it (see below); (c) the accommodation being let must be furnished; and (d) the accommodation must be let for residential use only and not for use as office or storage space Meaning of only or family home If the individual or couple own more than one property, the scheme will only apply to letting income from the home in which they live Moving home during the tax year If an individual or couple sell their home during the year and buy another, they can claim relief for letting income from each home. However, the total annual tax-free income limits will still apply Leaving or moving to the Island If an Isle of Man resident leaves the Island on a permanent basis and claims relief for letting income received during the tax year in which they depart, the relief limit will be reduced in proportion to the period of residence in that year. The same proportional reduction in the limit will apply in the case of someone who moves to the Island and who claims relief for letting income received from their own home during the tax year in which they become resident. Issued: 7 September 2011 Page 2

5 4.3 The income received The relief will cover: (a) income received from letting accommodation in accordance with the specified conditions; and (b) income from services provided to the tenant which are incidental to the letting, e.g. the provision of meals, laundry service, cleaning, etc Expenses This relief will apply to gross letting income and any expenses which are incurred in connection with generating that income will not be taken account of. 5. How to claim We anticipate including a new section on tax returns where gross letting income received under the scheme during the tax year can be declared. Relief will then be given automatically, up to the relevant maximum amount. A claim for relief under the proposed scheme will not affect entitlement to mortgage interest relief on the same property. Similarly, a claim for relief can be made in addition to a claim under the Homestay Scheme for the same property, although, as stated in 6 (g) below, a claim under the proposed scheme cannot be made for income that has been generated under the Homestay Scheme. Any income received under the scheme which exceeds the limits of 1,500 or 3,000 for individuals and couples, respectively, will be taxable income and will also be counted in calculating eligibility for a Personal Allowance Credit. 6. Exclusions It is proposed that relief will not be granted to letting income received: (a) from a property where a hotel or guesthouse trade is conducted; (b) from the regular provision of accommodation to occasional visitors for short periods, which would result in the property being guest accommodation rather than a home; (c) by individuals or couples living in private rented accommodation; (d) by individuals or couples living in public sector accommodation; (e) from self-contained accommodation in which all rooms (including kitchen, bathroom and toilet) are accessed via a single door which only the tenant can use; (f) under the Isle of Man Homestay Scheme during the Isle of Man TT, the Manx Grand Prix or any other event that may be included from time to time under the Homestay Scheme (the current tax free limit of 1,500 for the Isle of Man TT will still apply); or (g) if expenses incurred in the letting have been claimed under section 58 of the Income Tax Act 1970 (relief on rental income). Issued: 7 September 2011 Page 3

6 Do you consider the exclusions listed to be appropriate? Please suggest any additions/alternatives. 7. Before applying for relief Anyone considering claiming relief under the proposed scheme should check beforehand whether letting a part of their property is permitted under their mortgage and home and contents insurance terms and conditions. In addition, those considering claiming relief under the scheme in relation to a property which is subject to the terms of the Government House Purchase Assistance Scheme must check with the relevant Department before letting any part of their home. 8. Summary Views are welcomed on the following: the scheme proposed in this document and the questions raised; and alternative ways that the relief could be operated. 9. Submissions The closing date for this consultation exercise is 31 October 2011 and submissions should be sent to: Gerard Higgins Policy Officer and Business Support Group Manager 2 nd Floor Government Office Buck s Road DOUGLAS IM1 3TX Following the consultation period, the responses will be reviewed and our conclusions, together with a summary of the comments received, will be published. Issued: 7 September 2011 Page 4

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