Clause 34 - Meaning of “residential property developer”

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 5 January 2022.

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Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 3:45, 5 January 2022

Clauses 34 to 38 set out key definitions for the residential property developer tax, which collectively set out the conditions that need to be satisfied for a business to be in scope of the tax. Clauses 47 to 51 and schedule 9 address a mix of aims within the tax, including the definition of a group, excluding a deduction for the tax when calculating profits or losses for other tax purposes, and the application of transfer pricing principles for the purpose of the residential property developer tax.

Clause 34 defines a residential property developer, and confirms that to be in scope of the RPDT, a business must be a company that undertakes residential property development activities as further defined in clause 35. Clause 34 provides an exclusion for non-profit housing companies and their wholly owned subsidiary companies from being treated as residential property developers for the purposes of the RPDT. The clause defines a non-profit housing company by reference to existing legislation, and a power has been taken that allows the definition to be updated in future in line with any changes to regulatory frameworks.

Clause 35 provides a non-exhaustive list of what amounts to residential property development activities, and confirms that profits from these activities undertaken by the developer on or in connection with UK land in which it has an interest will form the tax base.

Clause 36 explains that a residential property developer or a related company will have an interest in the land for the purposes of the tax where it has an interest in or over the land that forms part of its trading stock used in its development trade. It explains the tax’s application to related companies and joint venture companies.

Clause 37 provides a definition of residential property and sets out the types of properties that will not be regarded as residential property. The clause excludes certain types of buildings from the definition of residential property, so that any profits or losses from their development are not taken into account when computing profits that are subject to the tax. These include, typically, specialised institutions that provide temporary or longer-term accommodation for a specific class of residents, and buildings that are occupied purely under licence to occupants who do not hold any lasting rights over the property. Finally, the clause sets out the criteria to be met in relation to buildings that are excluded from the definition of residential property as student accommodation. Clause 38 sets out the formula used to calculate the residential profits or losses from residential property development activity by a developer for an accounting period.

Clause 47 introduces an exit charge that applies when a non-profit housing company ceases to meet the conditions to be exempt from the RPDT, and sets out the operation of the exit charge. This rule has been welcomed by the non-profit sector.

Clause 48 provides the definition of a group of companies for the purposes of the RPDT, other than for the group relief rules in schedule 7. Since a group of companies is entitled to a single £25 million allowance, it is important to set out clearly what constitutes a group for that purpose.

Clause 49 introduces schedule 9, which introduces a rule preventing a residential property developer from obtaining any deduction for the tax when calculating any profits or losses for income tax or corporation tax purposes. Clause 50 sets out where the meaning of various terms used in the RPDT legislation can be found.

Clause 51 confirms that the RPDT will apply for an accounting period for UK corporation tax purposes of a developer that ends on or after 1 April 2022. It sets out the treatment of accounting periods that straddle the commencement date of 1 April 2022. The RPDT will be chargeable only in respect of profits calculated from 1 April 2022 to the end of the accounting period, with an apportionment being made of the profits for the whole accounting period on a time basis.

In summary, this group of clauses defines key terms needed for the RPDT to work and provides the essential framework for the administration of the tax. The clauses will be supported by guidance to provide further clarity for taxpayers.