The new Chancellor appointed by Prime Minister Theresa May has been ‘outed’ as a former buy to let landlord - raising hopes on social media that he might modify some of the tax changes hitting the sector.
Philip Hammond was the subject of speculation on Twitter over the weekend that he might scrap or at least soften some of the mortgage interest relief, stamp duty and wear and tear allowance changes made in the past two years by George Osborne.
Back in 2014 the Mirror newspaper revealed that Hammond - with an estimated family wealth at the time of £8m - “avoided thousand of pounds in tax after transferring his share of a £600,000 buy to let property to Mrs Hammond” two years earlier.
The story continued that while such a transfer was in no way illegal, it may have led to the couple paying less tax overall.
After questioning Hammond (the then-Defence Secretary) on the issue, the Mirror reported in 2014: ”Mr Hammond issued a statement denying that he gave the property to his wife to stay out of the top tax rate, which hits anyone earning more than £150,000 a year. He said: ‘The distribution of property assets within a marriage is a private matter. However, the suggestion that the gift of my share in this property to my wife was designed to avoid the 50 per cent tax rate on rental income is incorrect.’”
Since becoming Chancellor last week, there has been no indication from Hammond that any existing policies applying to buy to let will be reviewed - despite the speculation on social media.