Andrew Reeves News

WestminsterWhat's a well-cooked meal in a central London restaurant worth these days? Try £19 for two courses with views over Vincent Square, or £27 for a seven course tasting menu in a fine dining setting. By central London price standards, that's quite a bargain. And such a bargain exists over at The Vincent Rooms.  

The Vincent Rooms at Westminster Kingsway College is staffed, both in the kitchen and front of house, by second and third year students training in cooking and catering at Westminster Kingsway College - leading British chefs Jamie Oliver and Ainsley Harriot are just two notable alumni of the college.  

The Vincent Rooms, a 'working restaurant', comprise The Escoffier Room, where haute cuisine is served and formal dining observed, and the less formal Brasserie. Guests can sample an array of modern dishes in the venue overlooking Vincent Square, and feel they are getting real value for money – and a tasty meal.  

Eating here is not about being a guinea pig for student chefs. The food (and very reasonably priced wine) is generally of a high standard. Save the odd flaw or thinner-than-it-should-be sauce, it's a treat to dine here and encourage these hard-working students in mastering their crafts before they formally step into professional jobs.   

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ATED confusion needs clarifying buy-to-let brokers toldSome accountants have been wrongly telling buy-to-let residential landlords that they need to pay ATED, according to industry experts.  

Now buy-to-let brokers are being pushed to clarify these tax rules for landlords, while accountants are being told to make sure they are familiar with all the latest tax changes affecting the buy-to-let sector.  

The government introduced ATED (Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings) in 2013. This applies to residential properties owned either partly or completely by a partnership, a company, or investment vehicle.  

Managing Director of The Buy to Let Business, Ying Tan, said: "It is difficult to quantify how many landlords are affected. We have certainly seen some landlords, off the back of speaking to an accountant, say that a limited company is not a good option due to ATED, even though ATED would not apply to them."

He added: "This is contradicting other accountants who are acutely aware that, if the property is let out, ATED does not apply."

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In 2013 the government introduced ATED, an Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings. This tax applies to residential properties owned either partly or completely by a company, a partnership, or any other investment vehicle. The term 'Enveloped Dwelling' refers to a residential property that is owned or 'enveloped' within a corporate wrapper.

What landlords should know about Annual TaxInitially, the tax only applied to properties valued over £2,000,000. However, from the 1st April 2016 the government has extended the range of the tax to include properties valued at £500,000 and above. This means that nearly all properties or 'dwellings' in central London will fall into this tax bracket.   

The government has deemed a dwelling to be a property that may be of mixed use or part of a residential property that includes surrounding grounds and gardens, and any outbuildings built within the boundaries of the grounds or gardens. If a property is only partly used as a residence, the ATED will only apply to the value of that part of the property. Where a property has been separated into self-contained flats, each flat will be considered as a separate dwelling and will be taxed on its value as a separate dwelling.  

Are there any exemptions or reliefs for buy-to-let investors? 

Yes. Among other exemptions and reliefs, property rental businesses or BTL landlords holding the property within a company can usually claim ATED relief if the property is let to a third party and not occupied by, or anyone connected to, the owner. However, a return is required for each property, and the exemption from ATED must be claimed. 

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March sees increase in first-time buyer activityGrowing numbers of first-time buyers secured a mortgage in March, with a total of £4.9 billion borrowed by first-time buyers during the month. 

New data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) showed that first-time buyer activity increased in March this year, with more loans going to first-time buyers than in any other month of March since 2007.  

CML figures showed that 31,500 loans went to first-time buyers during March this year, an increase of 12% compared to March 2016.  

Mortgage rates remain very low, which partly accounts for the boost in the number of first-time buyers securing their first mortgage.  

Given the series of changes implemented recently which affect the buy-to-let market, fewer potential investors are taking the plunge and buying a buy-to-let property. This is freeing up housing stock for buyers, and making it easier for them to climb onto the property ladder.  

 

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best co-working spaces for freelanceCo-working spaces have changed the face of freelancing. You may have chosen the freelancing route, but that doesn't mean you want to be cut off from the world, glued to your laptop within the private confines of your home.  

Seclusion isn't necessarily the solution for increased productivity. Co-working spaces open up opportunities for freelancers, both business and social. They are excellent places in which to network, collaborate on a project, seek inspiration from a fellow freelancer, or simply bounce your ideas off others.

The sense of community spirit is not to be dismissed, either.The co-working trend is truly global, so if you're a freelancer, we recommend you give co-working a go.  

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