Using a SSAS – Residential property
One of the best ways for a SSAS to be tax efficient is for it to own the building in which the business is conducted or its head office. The property is then ring fenced and not part of the business, so if the business does fail the property is protected. This is because a SSAS is a type of trust, a separate legal entity, and does not form part of a company’s assets. The rent is paid to the SSAS and is a tax deductible expense. A company can open more than one SSAS and can have multiple members to each SSAS.Generally a SSAS works well with commercial property, it is possible however to have residential property within a SSAS provided certain criteria are meet. The recent case J & A Young (Leicester) Ltd v HMRC 2015 sets out the criteria.
The company in 2006 purchased a residential property into its SSAS, which was used to house foreign employees when they came to work in the UK, under the terms of their employment. HMRC took the company to tribunal arguing that the SSAS had an interest in a residential property that was taxable under FA 2004, s 174A
The taxpayer argued that the property was not taxable because it was a condition of employment that the employees lived there (para 10(2)(c)). Alternatively, condition B applied because the property was used in connection with the business premises held as an investment in the pension fund.
The First-tier Tribunal said that the employment contract did not require employees to live in the property and therefore it could not be described as a condition of employment. Condition A was not satisfied.
The judge agreed with the taxpayer that condition B was satisfied. He said the use of the property as accommodation for the foreign employees working in the yard was a “sufficient connection” for the purposes of para 10(3)(b). It was bought for that reason and used only by such employees. The arrangements were not artificial and there was a direct connection between the property and the yard.
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Mr Aadil Butt FCCA
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