Spotlight on our Tax and Accountancy partners. Landlord News articles about Tax and accountancy are the best read. In this issue we provide more information on the levels of assistance our partners can provideMake Text Bigger
The most popular articles in Landlord News are undoubtedly those that relate to tax and accountancy advice.
Steve Sims, author of the best selling book ‘Understanding and Paying Less Property Tax for Dummies’, runs our specialist tax and accountancy service.
Steve also writes for tax and business magazines and web sites and was recently invited to talk about changes in furnished holiday let tax rules on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours program.
His business specialises in advising landlords on property tax and offers efficient service and competitive pricing compared with general accountancy practices.
Besides having property tax experience and qualifications, the business also benefits from Steve and his wife, Amanda, owning and running a mixed portfolio of buy to lets and holiday lets. They have also run a property development company.
This gives them the advantage of understanding how a property investor works whilst also making sure the tax rules are properly applied.
The Association of Accounting Technicians (Tax regulation) and HM Revenue and Customs (Money laundering rules) regulate the business. All advice is protected by professional indemnity insurance.
Steve’s philosophy is to operate in a low overhead environment and to encourage clients to utilise his simple yet highly effective accounting software.
This enables his firm to provide quality advice and service on a low budget pricing structure. His team is available to answer any tax questions you may have.
The most common questions received by Steve from The Money Centre’s clients include:
- I’m thinking about selling some of my properties, how can I minimise Capital Gains Tax?
- I haven’t done any tax returns for previous years and I’m worried about fines.
- I’ve had a compliance check letter asking about property profits – what do I do?
- I submit tax returns but having read Landlord News, I’m concerned that I might be claiming for things that I shouldn’t and yet in other areas I might be missing tax-planning opportunities.
- We are not sure whether our property portfolio is structured for optimal tax planning. Should we own our properties as joint tenants, tenants in common, single names, a business partnership, or limited company? In addition, what are LLP’s?
- My accountant charges a small fortune to do my books and submit my tax returns but doesn’t really provide me with much advice.
- My accountant often asks me why I invest into property and about my strategy generally and then charges me for time spent answering his or her questions. I feel like I am advising them and getting little in return for my money.
Steve’s charges are £100 for each owner’s tax return and then £50 a property for producing the rent accounts. Rental accounts for student lets and houses in multiple occupation (HMO) are slightly more, at £75 due to the additional financial record keeping.
That’s for standard 12-month letting statements – like a few repairs, 12 mortgage payments etc, which is more than adequate for most landlords with three or four property portfolios who own the property with their wives or life partner.
How can the service be priced so competitively?
Just think how much a typical accountant pays to open the door on the first day of the trading year. When you stack in rent, running costs, staff, equipment etc all these overheads that make the accountant look good need paying for and the costs do not always reflect the work and advice you need.
Steve commented “As a non-accountant type coming late in to the business, it’s surprised me what poor business people a lot of accountants are and how they all plough the same conservative marketing furrows like breakfast clubs, yellow pages and the rotary.
“We try to work in the 21st century by harnessing the internet and technology to keep costs down for clients without diminishing the service they receive.
“For instance, generally, an accountant provides a profit and loss report and a completed tax return.
“We provide profit and loss breakdowns per owner and per property business plus we also set up a property register for capital gains tax expense capture.
“We include an expenses/business structure review to make sure the client is operating tax effectively and don’t charge for quick advice by email because it’s often not worth the cost of raising the invoice.”
The exclusive in-house software has an in-built capability to produce reports by portfolio, property, financial category etc and is split to deliver profit and loss reports for UK letting property, overseas letting property, UK holiday lets and from April, overseas holiday lets.
“Generally, it’s a year-end service so we get the records in one lump and produce the figures as one, but we are happy to quote a quarterly or monthly tailored service for clients with large portfolios producing reports as required,” said Steve.
“For landlords with lots of properties, I think the more relevant report is which property has a good return and which doesn’t.”
Additional services are typically charged at £20 per hour for data input or administration and £50 per hour for an accountant dealing with computations etc. Charges mentioned are all ex-VAT.
Steve went on to say “We can deal with holiday lets, residential investment in the UK, non-resident landlords and UK taxpayers with overseas property. The service covers income tax and Capital Gains Tax.
“Developers/self-employed/partnerships are not a problem, nor are small property companies or letting agents/brokers. These tend to generate more paper, so the costs are more expensive as more admin time is required.
“Re level of service – I think we offer a quicker and more personal service than most accountants and we can provide whatever service the client needs as long as they understand that some may not contribute to their bottom line and sorting out the data can be a hassle and time consuming. ”
Steve’s business operates from comfortable offices at his home overlooking the sea and Lleyn peninsula about 400 yards from Harlech Castle. They don’t outsource overseas and because they understand the application of a mix of tax theory and experience from running their own portfolio, they believe they give a better in-depth service than many accountants who run a more general business.
If you would like further advice on tax or accountancy please call The Money Centre’s Customer Care Team on 01603 894525 and we will be delighted to refer you to Steve and his team. The initial introduction is a no cost no obligation service.
Although primarily for property investors, Steve can also deal with self-employed accounts and small corporate clients in other sectors.
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