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The Practitioner: Buy-to-let ‘experts’ trying to nick my clients

The Practitioner

SEVERAL CLIENTS this past few weeks have been asking about the best way to deal with the change in interest rules on buy-to-let properties.

Some of them have received marketing letters from so-called experts, marketing themselves as ‘Buy-to-let tax specialists’, sometimes even catchier than that if I’m being honest…

I know that there are accountants led by someone with a marketing brain that creates a micro-site and letters tailored at the next big thing. It’s similar to the PPI ‘helpers’ I guess, and ‘cruise ship sickness legal claims’ companies that pop up posing to be the best firm in their field.

‘Secret Report’

One of these marketing letters was passed onto me: on it the firm claimed to have a ‘secret report’ that HMRC did not want them to see. The ‘report’ will help landlords who will fall foul of the changes in the amount of mortgage interest that can be reclaimed from this tax year onwards.

I’m 100% sure there is no secret report, and I’m also 100% sure that we know all the rule changes and how they affect the clients we have in the buy-to-let game. I convinced the client to not pay the £250-plus-VAT fee to obtain this ‘exclusive copy’ of the secret report – and stick to the advice we had previously given him.

R&D envy

Having said that, I would highly recommend the R&D service that several firms offer. If we had a larger tax department I’m sure we could do this ourselves – but it’s an add-on service that clients love when it applies to them. We get a kickback from the R&D tax firm, the client gets a cheque from HMRC, so everyone’s a winner.

Of all the clients that we have introduced to the same R&D claim-back experts, none of them have failed in their attempt at getting a cheque from HMRC.

I’m aware, however, of changes that are supposed to make it harder for companies to obtain R&D tax credits in the future. I guess I’ll just have to buy a copy of the ‘secret report’ and see what can be done about it!

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from within their own practice – having left a regional firm in the heart of England

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