Alongside targeting income earned through retail platforms such as Ebay and Etsy, HMRC are also doubling down their efforts on tax evasion through undeclared property income. This means that if you have a side hustle of renting accommodation through platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO and booking.com then you might be on HMRC’s radar.
‘We’re making customers aware that if they’ve earned income from short-term property lettings, they need to let HMRC know because they may need to pay tax on their earnings,’ HMRC said.
HMRC will use information they have about property rental in the UK and abroad and other information they hold on taxpayers to identify people who might not have paid what they owe.
Airbnb, VRBO and similar platforms that facilitate payments in the UK are legally required to share data with HMRC about the transactions that have taken place. This means that HMRC will have some information about the potential tax due, so it is sensible to disclose your rental income as a matter of course every year.
If HMRC suspects a landlord has been deliberately avoiding tax, it can reclaim 20 years’ worth of tax payments. They can also impose fines up to the total value of any unpaid tax, as well as the underpaid tax.
If you need to declare unpaid, you can do so via HMRC’s online disclosure service.