Updated 18 March 2019

The HMRC Rent a Room Scheme for UK Airbnb Hosts is a great tax break for anyone who uses Airbnb to rent a furnished room in their own home.

What is the HMRC Rent a Room Scheme?

The HMRC Rent a Room Scheme entitles everyone in the UK to earn up to £7,500 tax-free every tax year for renting out a furnished room in their own home.

A tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April.

How to Claim the HMRC Rent a Room Scheme for UK Airbnb Hosts

The Rent a Room Scheme for UK Airbnb Hosts entitles hosts to earn up to £7,500 every tax year without needing to let HMRC know about it.

You must be:

  • Renting a room in your principal private residence
  • Halfing your £7,500 entitlement if you share your home with someone.

Note – If you are already registered for self-assessment and send in a tax return for another reason, then you’ll need to include your UK Airbnb rent a room income on your return even if it is less than £7,500.

If you earn more than £7,500 then you need to register with HMRC and fill out a self-assessment tax return form to declare your Airbnb income.

You’ll still be entitled to the tax free exemption of £7,500, you’ll just have to claim it as part of filling out your tax return.

How to Register with HMRC as a UK Airbnb Host

You can register with HMRC as a UK Airbnb Host online here.

Once you have completed the online form you’ll be registered for HMRC Self-Assessment and you will:

Tax On the Rent a Room Scheme for UK Airbnb Hosts Earning Over the £7,500

Under the rules of the Rent a Room Scheme for UK Airbnb Hosts you’ll need to pay income tax on your Airbnb income over the £7,500.

The amount of tax you pay is worked out based on two things:

  1. How much money you make on Airbnb;
  2. Your total earnings for the tax year.

HMRC sets out 2 methods for you to choose from to work out how much money you have made renting a room out on Airbnb.

Rent a Room Scheme Method A

Declare the gross rental income you have collected from your lodgers (before Airbnb commissions) and pay tax on the amounts over £7,500.

Rent a Room Scheme Method B

Declare how much profit you made by renting a room in your home.  

Profit means rent you receive less allowable expenses. Allowable expenses are all the things you pay for in relation to renting out your room.

Typical allowable expenses can include:

  • Insurance;
  • Repairs & maintenance;
  • A portion of utility bills;
  • Accountants fees.

Switching Between Method A and Method B

You can choose to switch between Method A and B each time you submit a tax return.

That means you can choose with method gives you the most tax advantage, by declaring the lowest income.

How Much Tax Do You Pay On Airbnb Income Over the £7,500 Rent A Room Exemption

Once you have worked out how much you are going to declare for your Airbnb Income, you’ll need to gather together details of all your other forms of income. This is things like:

  • Salary
  • Self-employment income
  • Rental income
  • Dividends
  • Bank interest

Income tax is calculated at different rates according to how much you earn across all your forms of income during a tax year.

For 2018/2019 the income rates are:

Personal AllowanceUp to £11,8500%
Basic rate£11,851 to £46,35020%
Higher rate£46,351 to £150,00040%
Additional rateover £150,00045%

An Example of Working Out Your Income Tax

In the tax year 2018/2019 Sarah:

  • Earns £45,000 per year in full time employment;
  • Collects £10,000 from renting a room in her house;
  • Opts to use method A.

Sarahs total income is £55,000 so her tax bill would be £10,360 which is worked out as follows:

£11,850 x 0% = £0.00

£34,500 x 20% = £6,900

£8,650 x 40% = £3,460

Total £10,360

Since Sarah was in employment, any tax already deducted on her payslips will be taken off the total amount due. The amount of tax paid is on a P60 form.

How to Complete Your Self Assessment Tax Return

Earnings under rent a room scheme need to be included in the Property Section of your tax return form.

There are three entries that need to be made:

1. Put an ‘X’ in box 4 to indicate to HMRC that you intend to claim for Rent a Room:

Rent a Room Scheme Self Assessment Tax Return

2. Enter Income collected from renting out the room.

Rent a Room Scheme Self Assessment Tax Return

3. Enter your claim for Rent a Room Relief in Box 37.  This cancels out the income entry you made and means no tax charge will be made.

Top Tax Tip for Airbnb Hosts Using the Rent a Room Scheme

If you are new to Airbnb and so far have earned less than £7,500 but expect to earn more moving forward, it could be worthwhile registering with HMRC and submitting a personal tax return to record your tax loss in the current year. Tax losses can be used against future profits to save tax, so don’t lose out in the future.

You can read more Tax & VAT Advice for Airbnb Hosts here.

HMRC has some great guidance on the Rent a Room Scheme where they touch on many details around the scheme including time limits and tax losses.


Anita is a Chartered Accountant with over a decade of experience taking self employed business owners from financially confused to business savvy.
She is the creator of the ‘Go Self Employed’ website, which her corner on the internet where she makes self employment less terrifying.