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Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Share and share alike

07 August 2015

Give the odd overnight stay in your house to friends you’ve just met?  No problem with that.  Selling second hand stuff shouldn’t be taxing either, but there are limits.  When it comes to the sharing economy, the clue is in the name.

So, you have that spare room that seemed like a good idea when you bought the flat.  Then  you start to think about  the last  time you actually set foot in that cube of air  that has the worst  view in the house.  Then you really start to think.  Just how much is that room costing me every month? 

So maybe you start to think about letting out the room.  Then you remember Christopher Ecclestone’s hammer-wielding psycho-killer flatmate character in Shallow Grave and you have second thoughts.  Still, that was only a story.  So you press on and, before you know it, you have a lodger who doesn’t own a hammer, and that room has turned from a financial burden to a nice little earner.

It needn’t stop there.  On occasion you have a friend to stay and they take the sofa bed.  Then you hear about things like Share my sofa, Air BnB, and Crash for Cash.  Before you can say ‘just put your toothbrush in the bathroom’ you’re pocketing a nice little cashflow from that worn out old futon.

Then, why stop at the furniture?  You still have an industrial sized hedge trimmer from your years in the suburbs, but you haven’t had a garden for years.  So why not keep those blades sharp by hiring it out to your old neighbours - and other neighbours you’ve not  met yet.  Why not get on board with one or more of the new breed of sharing websites, and hire out almost everything except the clothes you are  wearing. In fact, why not do this instead of the nine to five?

Then it all starts to get complicated. 

You’re spending more time on hiring out stuff and space than you are on your job, and actually, it’s bringing in a nice little income.  So why not start getting stuff that people need, and just hiring it out anyway?  Now we’ve strayed firmly into trading territory, peer to peer communities, and all that carries a whole lot more responsibility.

We’ve all seen pages on websites like eBay and Gumtree where sellers pop up again and again, or have full-blown online shops.  Many people trade successfully online doing just that, but they’re not occasional sellers, making the most of unwanted or underused belongings.  Where does helping out with a share here and there end, and trading begin?

There’s plenty of regulation around letting out rooms, including a very welcome rise in that particular related earnings allowance threshold announced in the recent budget.  In other share and sell scenarios, the lines can be a little less clear cut.  So if you want to avoid straying unwittingly into the realm of tax liability, have a word with us, before you post that ad.

Which leaves us with just a couple more things to share with you.  We made up two of the overnight stay websites mentioned above, we don’t really think you can Share my Sofa or Crash for Cash - but it might be fun if you could!


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Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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