Tax Glossary

Peer-to-peer lending

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Last updated on:
March 17, 2024

Peer-to-peer lending, often abbreviated as P2P lending, facilitates loans directly between individuals through online platforms, bypassing traditional banking institutions. This innovative financial model connects borrowers seeking funds with investors willing to lend their money for potential interest earnings.

Tax Implications of P2P Lending

Interest income from P2P lending is subject to taxation similar to conventional savings interest, adhering to the personal savings allowance regulations based on your tax bracket:

  • Basic Rate Taxpayers (20%): Enjoy a £1,000 personal savings allowance, meaning the first £1,000 of interest is tax-free.
  • Higher Rate Taxpayers (40%): Have a reduced allowance of £500.
  • Additional Rate Taxpayers: Do not qualify for a personal savings allowance, thus all P2P interest is taxable.

Earnings exceeding the applicable personal savings allowance are taxed at your standard Income Tax rate.

Innovative Finance ISAs (IFISA)

P2P platforms may offer the option to invest through an Innovative Finance ISA, which shelters your interest earnings from tax. Returns generated within an IFISA are exempt from Income Tax, offering a tax-efficient way to invest in P2P loans.

Dealing with Defaults and Capital Gains Tax

  • Loan Defaults: Should a borrower fail to repay, the loss (termed as "bad debt") can be offset against other P2P interest income, reducing your taxable interest earnings.
  • Capital Gains Tax: Selling a P2P loan at a profit may trigger Capital Gains Tax obligations, depending on the amount of gain and your annual Capital Gains Tax Allowance.

Key Points for P2P Lenders

  • P2P lending offers an alternative investment avenue, potentially yielding higher returns than traditional savings accounts, albeit with higher risks.
  • Taxation on P2P earnings necessitates awareness of your personal savings allowance and potential tax liabilities on interest earned beyond this threshold.
  • Innovative Finance ISAs provide a tax-free method to engage in P2P lending, shielding your returns from taxation.
  • It's important to consider the risks, including the potential for borrower defaults, which can impact your returns.

For individuals interested in exploring P2P lending, it's advisable to thoroughly research available platforms, understand the tax implications, and consider how P2P investments fit within your overall financial strategy.

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