A leading tax expert has slammed claims made recently that buy-to-let landlords face the risk of double taxation if they choose to put their property investments into a limited company, insisting instead that it remains a perfectly safe vehicle to avoid paying higher rates of income tax if calculated correctly.
Several property experts, including Nick Cartwright, a tax partner at Smith & Williamson, warned of possible dangers in landlords forming limited companies in a bid to minimise their tax liabilities at the recent ASTL annual conference.
Cartwright warned that buy-to-let landlords face a potential double layer of tax, with the overall tax rate, if rental income is distributed, likely to hit as much as 50%, while also insisting that incorporation is a bad option for landlords who want live off the rental income as it is earned.
But Cartwight’s claims have been rubbished by Simon Bayley, commercial director at Foundation Home Loans.
He commented: “Frankly the comments made by the speaker were a great advert for accountants but also another misleading headline maker sending out a negative message to landlords at a time when this is a well proven method of mitigating some of the extra burden of taxation that has hit the industry in the past 12 months.
“Of course, taking the extreme example used by the speaker, a landlord might indeed have an issue, but that is why taking good advice is so important. I think the industry would appreciate that if experts are going to pontificate about the possible pitfalls, at least they could prepare a rounded argument to ensure proper balance rather than just a crude way of creating alarmist headlines.”