Property Tax Expert - Debbie Franklin
Why did you
personally decide to focus on property Tax?
Like many, I myself became an accidental landlord some years ago and soon found it to be an excellent investment. As the tax due on property was going to directly impact on my pocket, I decided to make sure I knew as much as possible to mitigate it!
What types of client do you assist and what challenges do they need help with?
We assist a variety of clients from private individuals with one or two properties to portfolio landlords, limited companies and property developers. Many people we act for have a considerable number of properties and run their investments as a full-time business. Others see it as a ‘side hustle’, a useful way to make extra money. Some landlords may start their property journey this way and then give up their day job once they achieve financial independence. Whatever their goals, we help clients with the unique challenges they face but one thing they all have in common is the desire to minimise their tax liability.
What accreditations has Peplows earned?
We won the National LIS award for Best Accounting and Tax Services for Landlords. The Awards, organised by National Landlord Investment Show, celebrate excellence and professionalism in the private rented sector. The winners are chosen by a combination of public votes and a panel of industry experts and is therefore an endorsement from our customers and introducers who believe in what we do. We are also Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisors. The importance of this from a client’s perspective is that we must:
- comply with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements, ensuring that our knowledge and skills are comprehensive and kept up-to-date
- adhere to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct
- have a complaints procedure, and perhaps most importantly
- have professional indemnity insurance.
Have you worked with any high profile clients or partners?
We work with Gill Fielding (secret Millionaire) from Fielding Financial to assist her students in attaining their AQA accreditation and navigate the tax system. We also present to property groups across the UK, including the National Landlords Association, Wealth Investment Group, Property and Entrepreneurial Network as well as events organised by councils.
How has the Covid Pandemic affected your business and your clients’ businesses?
We have been busier than ever, advising clients on all the reliefs, grants, funding and support they can access, from more time to pay tax to taking advantage of nil rate bands. Many clients have faced significant challenges, for example, having voids or tenants unable to pay and being unable to access the self-employed grant for professional landlords. The pandemic has spurred on even more digitalisation in the way that many of us work, however, it has also highlighted one fundamental value that is at the heart of the way we work. Communication. It’s essential that clients never feel abandoned and that they can reach a human being when they need to.
Where do you think property owners should be focussing their attention in 2021?
They need to ensure they have a robust business model. With appropriate planning they can have safeguards in place against tax increases and they also need their property businesses to be as agile as possible.
What common mistakes do you see property owners make in terms of taxation?
Property tax can be complex and is constantly changing. It can be a minefield to navigate so it is not surprising that people make mistakes. Some of the more common ones are:
- Not maximising claims for expenses
- Overpaying Stamp Duty Land Tax
- Over paying VAT on conversions
The correct advice should always save you more than it costs, even if it is avoiding expensive mistakes!