When the cash basis is not available to a property business

Source: HM Revenue & Customs | | 24/09/2020

The cash basis scheme helps landlords, sole traders and other unincorporated businesses to benefit from a simpler way of managing their financial affairs. The scheme is not open to limited companies and limited liability partnerships. The entry threshold for the cash basis scheme is £150,000 and qualifying businesses can stay in the scheme until their business turnover reaches £300,000. 

Since the 2017-18 tax year, it has been the default basis for most property businesses that are run by individuals or partnerships with income for the tax year of £150,000 or less. A landlord can elect to opt out of the scheme in which case they can continue to use generally accepted accounting practice (GAAP) to calculate their taxable profits. 

HMRC’s property income manual lists the following list of circumstances when the cash basis is not available to a property business. 

  • A: The property business is run by a company, limited liability partnership (LLP), trustees or a corporate firm (a partnership with at least one non-individual member).
  • B: Receipts that would be brought into account under the cash basis for the tax year exceed £150,000. This amount must be proportionally reduced if the property business is only carried out for part of the tax year.
  • C: If the property business is being carried on jointly with a spouse or civil partner, the same basis must be used by both individuals, unless they make a declaration under S837/ITA 2007 that they are beneficially entitled to the income in unequal shares.
  • D: Business premises renovation allowance has been claimed, and a balancing event in the tax year gives rise to a balancing adjustment.
  • E: An election is made to use GAAP because the person believes that traditional accounting is more appropriate. The election must be made within one year of the filing date for that tax year.


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