A campaign group has been launched in protest at the Government’s proposals in the summer Budget to limit tax breaks in the buy to let market.
The group has been given the title of the Landlord Tax Levy Campaign Group and is seeking more members who can give 15 minutes each day to campaign against the proposals.
Those who subscribe to the campaign are offered letter templates to make sending letters to MPs and other eligible parties simpler. The objective is to lobby as many people as possible. The campaign group believes that this will show the degree of opposition that exists in relation to the scheme.
Subscribers are also eligible to receive templates for press releases in the hope that these will be sent out to local news outlets, together with instant messages that can be used on WhatsApp and SMS texts in a bid to create viral protests, and ideas that can be used on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
The group’s launch was announced as an online petition against the proposed changes and rapidly went over the 10,000-signature mark. This landmark means that the Government must now offer a formal response to the ‘Reverse the planned tax relief restriction on individual landlords’ petition.
The petition was started by London landlord Ruhal Uddin in a bid to get the Government to rethink the changes. It reflects wide-spread discontentment with the announcement that arrangement fees and mortgage interest payments incurred during the set-up of a buy to let mortgage would have a basic rate income tax restriction. This is currently set at 20 per cent and the restriction would still apply even if the landlord’s income tax liability was set at a higher rate.
The Government now looks set to outline why it disagrees with the petition and why it will forge ahead with the Budget proposals in the near future. If 100,000 signatures were to be received before a January 26, 2016, deadline, however, a parliamentary debate could be triggered, although there is no guarantee that this would happen.
The online petition makes the case that many landlords are sole traders who inevitably incur costs as part of their business dealings. It claims that the proposed restriction, however, will differentiate them from other traders by preventing them from off-setting these costs in the same way.
It claims the Government’s proposals have ‘unfair implications’ and highlights that The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ Budget response has already pointed out how landlords currently face higher tax bills than other property owners.
The petition goes on to state that the private sector relies heavily upon individual landlords but the planned changes will almost inevitably end up with higher rents being faced by tenants as landlords attempt to mitigate the rise in tax liabilities.
It argues that the Government’s proposed restriction would ‘unfairly’ and ‘adversely’ affect landlords such as those who purchase and retain buy to let properties as a means of investing money and securing their own financial future during retirement.