If you’re a landlord renting out a property, then you’ll most likely be liable to pay tax and need to fill in a tax return. Regardless of whether you own one property or one hundred, the government views being a landlord as no different to running a small business – and all businesses must pay their taxes. To pay your tax, you must register for a self-assessment and carry out a landlord tax return.
If numbers aren’t your thing, figuring out your finances is no small feat and – for a lot of people – the idea of tackling their taxes alone can be pretty daunting. To help you out, we’ve put together a start-to-finish explanation of everything you need to get your taxes done and dusted.
The deadline for online tax submissions is 31st January.
How do I begin my landlord tax return?
To start your landlord tax return, the first thing you need to do is register for Self-Assessment via GOV.UK. You can fill out the form online or send it by post – either way, you’ll be asked for your:
- Full name and address
- National Insurance Number
- Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – if you’ve previously registered for a self-assessment, you’ll find a 10-digit number on the front page of your tax return
- Telephone number and email address
- Reason for completing a tax return – as a landlord, you’ll need to tick “I’m getting income from land and property in the UK”
- Start date of your untaxed rental income
The deadline for paper submissions is the 31st October, or 31st January for online submissions.
What’s included in my landlord tax return?
As a landlord, the main forms of tax that you will need to pay are Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions. If the profit on your rental income is above £11,908 per year and being a landlord is your main job, you will have to pay Class 2 National Insurance. If your profit is below £11,908 a year, you can make voluntary National Insurance Contributions to help your pension.
You must report your rental income on your self-assessment landlord tax return if it is:
- £2,500 to £9,999 after allowable expenses
- £10,000 or more before allowable expense
If your rental income is less than £2,500, you must contact the HMRC as a full self-assessment may not be required.
Landlord tax returns must take into account all of your income, so have your P60 to hand. Any other tax you have paid in the year is deducted.
What about companies and larger businesses?
If you own a property company, you should count the rental income the same way as any other business income. You may also have to register to pay Corporation Tax.
What’s not included in my landlord tax return?
When it comes to residential lettings, there are a few costs that can be claimed to bring down landlord tax returns. These deductions are known as “allowable expenses” and cover your expenditure for the day-to-day running of the property. These include, but are not limited to:
- Letting agent and management fees
- Legal fees for lets of 1 year or less
- Legal document fees
- Lease renewal
- Accountant fees
- Building and contents insurance
- Maintenance and repairs
- Utility bills – such as gas, water and electricity
- Council Tax
- Advertising your property
- Cleaning and gardening services
You can also claim tax relief on the replacement of “domestic items” in your property. This includes:
- Crockery and cutlery
The domestic item must have only been bought for tenant use and the item that is being replaced must no longer be used at the property.
If you do not claim any expenses, the first £1,000 of your rental income is tax-free, otherwise known as a “property allowance”.
Digital tax on the horizon for landlords: read more.
How do I calculate my tax?
To figure out how much tax you will pay, you simply need to work out the profit. Add together your allowable expenses and take them away from your total rental income. If you have made any losses, you should deduct these from your total rental income. You can submit your return to HMRC and they will send you a request to pay your bill.
How do I get help with my tax return?
If you need help with your self-assessment, Apari can help you do your tax return online. Using their simple self-assessment tax return you can calculate your income and submit it straight to HMRC.
Apari is built to support landlords who want a simple way to submit their returns and avoid HMRC’s website, which at times can be quite complicated – especially if this is your first time. It’s free to use their platform and calculate your figures. Find out more about their simple self-assessment here.
Another option is to appoint an accountant to fill in and send your tax return or visit the government website which offers useful guides and webinars on submitting self-assessment.
What is Making Tax Digital (MTD) for landlords?
The Making Tax Digital program was initially announced in 2015 by former chancellor George Osborne. Making Tax Digital is a key part of the government’s plans to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs.
By abandoning paper records and using online software, MTD aims to minimise errors and improve the overall accuracy of tax submissions.
From April 2026, self-employed individuals and landlords with an income of more than £50,000 will be required to keep digital records and provide quarterly updates on their income and expenditure to HMRC through MTD-compatible software.
When do landlord tax returns need to be submitted?
You must complete a new self-assessment form and fill out a new tax return every financial year. For paper forms, the deadline is usually the last day of October. For online submissions, the deadline is the last day of January.
To make things clear, the last day for online submissions is 31st of January.
Once you have sent off your landlord tax return, you’ll then have to pay your tax. This deadline is the same as the date for online submissions: the 31st of January.
So, there you have it. Landlord tax returns explained. Hopefully, now you’re feeling ready to fill in that self-assessment and tackle your taxes head on. If you’re still unsure or simply don’t have the time to work out the numbers, you can always get an accountant to do it for you!
Landlords also have to pay Stamp Duty Tax on buy-to-let purchases. Find out how much Stamp Duty you’d pay using our Landlord Buy-to-Let Calculator.