Can I split the profits without changing the ownership?
My wife and I own various residential let properties 50/50. Can I give myself a partnership salary, as I put in most of the work and she pays 40% tax, and then split the balance of profits 50/50 (as one might in a schedule D business) - without changing the ownership proportion?
Unless you have been reporting the property income as a partnership since day one then no true partnership exists. Otherwise you have a whole raft of rules that apply to partnerships that would make this a non-starter.
You currently have properties owned jointly, so you are each entitled to half the income. Paying yourself a 'partnership salary' cannot be done in this instance. One method of changing the proportion of income between you would be to draw up a beneficial interest deed stating you are entitled to say 75% of the profits and gains, but this can cause it's own problems.
You may be better off setting up a management company (owned solely by you) which then charges for it's services...see our guide 'How to Use Companies to Cut Your Property Tax Bills’ for further details on this.
Calculations would need to be done to see which of the various options available would give the best result, as the alternative is to transfer one or more of the properties into your sole name, which may give a stamp duty charge.
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