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Landlords battling HMRC over tax relief changes ramp up legal fight

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Written by: Samantha Partington
15/04/2016
Campaigning landlords led by Cherie Blair QC have launched phase two of their attack on the government’s decision to prevent them from deducting mortgage interest from their rental income before they are taxed.
Landlords battling HMRC over tax relief changes ramp up legal fight

Following the launch of their legal case in February, private landlords Steve Bolton, founder of Platinum Property Partners, and Chris Cooper, have set out to raise a further £250,000 to take their fight to court.

The pair want HMRC and the Treasury to abolish the ruling, set to be phased in from 2017, which will see individual landlords taxed on their turnover rather than profit as the right to deduct mortgage interest is taken away. At the same time, the maximum amount of tax relief which can be claimed by landlords on their mortgage payments will be reduced from 45% to 20%.

Blair’s law firm, Omnia Strategy, is challenging the ruling on the grounds it is a breach of individual landlords’ human rights because they are being treated differently to their corporate counterparts.

To launch the legal case, Bolton and Cooper, appealed for donations through the crowd funding platform, Crowd Justice. They raised £50,000 in eight days. The campaign page, ‘Tenant Tax’, has been reopened as they attempt to raise the next slice of funds needed to progress the campaign.

Bolton believes that if the tax changes go ahead unchecked, those landlords affected most severely will either sell up, reducing the stock of rental properties, or hike up rents to remain profitable.

“The days where ‘nobody loves a landlord’ must come to an end,” said Bolton. We need to unite to show that we will not accept the victimisation of landlords and tenants by the out of touch political elite.”

He added: “The Tenant Tax is wrong on every level and if we allow a normal business expense to become a taxable expense for landlords, who will be next; corporate landlords, shopkeepers, small business owners or anyone who has used finance to help expand their business?”

The campaigners are holding an event, Tenant Tax Summit – Landlords Fight Back, on 9 June at the ILEC Conference Centre in Earls Court. The event is being supported by firms with interests in the private rental sector such as Spareroom.com, Shawbrook Bank and Propety 118.

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