Property Development & Investment Accountants

Managing risk and maximising returns

Between constant legislative changes and ever changing market conditions, we understand the volatility of the property sector and the challenges that arise within it. We’ve worked in the industry long enough to know the financial and tax challenges that property businesses face every day, from funding through to complex tax legislation.

Regardless of whether you’re a developer, investor or landlord you need an accountancy firm that can navigate the ins and outs of the industry while providing advice that ensures your business comes out on top. One that wants to immerse themselves in your business so that they can provide you with the best service level possible.  At Williamson & Croft, we don’t think that this is too much to ask for, so that’s exactly what we provide.

We will take the time to get to know you and your business so we can deliver the right advice and services to you. Get in touch with us today by calling us on 0161 399 0121 or emailing us at to learn more about our property-based services, and why they are right for you.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the guys at Williamson & Croft. They’ve been really proactive in providing advice, responsive to my short deadlines and I would be happy to recommend them.”

– Stephen Beech Beech Holdings (Manchester) Ltd.
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How can we help?

At Williamson & Croft, we operate results-driven teams that place our clients’ needs at the heart of everything that we do.

Our Compliance team ensures you affairs are correct and up to date whilst our Tax and Advisory teams can advise you on everything from restructuring, capital allowances, demergers, Construction Industry Scheme, VAT, equity and debt capital investments through to mergers and acquisitions. Some of our core property services include;

  • Incorporation of buy-to-let portfolios.
  • Property and debt transactions.
  • Group structuring and the use of special purpose vehicles and joint ventures.
  • Trading versus investment.
  • VAT advisory.
  • Non-resident landlord and withholding tax advice.
  • Corporate interest restrictions and transfer pricing advice.
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) advice.

The Business Services team can help with outsourced accounting services, including management reporting, statutory financial statements, corporation tax compliance, payroll and auto enrolment, VAT return preparation, and Construction Industry Scheme services and company secretarials.

Not only are our teams highly sought-after due to their dedication and care, but their expertise and experience is among the best in the industry.

Property & Accountancy

The nature of investment property and property valuations fluctuates regularly and, while owning entire properties is seen as a solid investment, it is important to go into it with an open mind. The key to success in real estate is adopting a long term approach to the value of your current assets and to have strong financial modelling in place so you’re in a position to take any hits to the valuation amount of your portfolio.

Here at Williamson & Croft our property team are driven to help you succeed in real estate and the wider property market. From day one they will be there to address all the requirements needed to buy and sell in the property market. Having an accountant that specialises in property will significantly boost the streamlined operation of your property investment, it is vital the correct property valuations and accounting principles are applied to your financial statements. Our services don’t just stop there though, because while running the day to day is important we think it just as important to offer advice and help you plan. Property accounting is as much about cash flow management and financial statements as it is careful advice about accounting changes and financial modelling. We also co-operate and work closely with your other trusted advisors such as your finance broker to provide a streamlined operation.

Property Tax Advice

Our tax experts can ensure your property portfolio is operating as tax efficiently as possible. Property tax is often quite obscure, it’s also extremely complex and tax issues can have a significant impact on your long term strategy.

These issues mean that effective tax planning is a real challenge for individuals and property companies alike. When you work with Williamson & Croft you can expect the correct accounting treatment to help minimise liability. From rental income tax advice to capital gains tax, we have a wealth of information as well as the important allowances and rates that you need to be aware of. While the information on a webpage is good, it doesn’t compare to being able to pick up the phone and talk to someone which is why, when you team up with Williamson & Croft, our dedicated property tax team will always pick up the phone and offer advice that is based on decades of experience.

Property Tax Support

We have guided countless clients through the murky waters of property tax. We treat each client’s investment property as if it were our own and we explore how our tax services can help them with care and great attention. Our tax services cover tax structuring, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax, VAT, allowances as well as other things like joint ventures and streamlining. If you’re after a more specific property tax we can also accommodate that. For instance, if you have more specific corporate tax issues then our team can help there also. From corporate interest restrictions, shareholder exemption relief and cross border transactions. No matter what stage you’re at during the property lifecycle we have the advice and property tax support you need, you can rest assured knowing that you’re paying as much as you have to in property tax while also remaining compliant with ever-changing tax law.

Service Charge Accounts

When a property is divided into individually owned and inhabited units, service charge accounts are essential. This is because the building will have to pay shared expenses, and an account of exactly how much is being charged ensures the process remains transparent to all occupants.

Either the tenants or leaseholders will be issued with the service charge, which is essentially a payment they must make towards the upkeep of the wider premises. 

Put another way, service charges are accumulated costs associated with providing communal or shared services – such as repairs – to a building. 

Service charge accounts have to be prepared for both residential properties and commercial properties. Click here for further information.

Want To Invest In Property?

There are lots of things you need to consider before investing in property, there are plenty of positives to it but it’s vital that you are aware of all the risks that surround it too if you ever hope to be successful in the property market.

Things To Know Before Investing in Property

  • Listen to your head – Throughout your investment journey treat everything as a business investment, negotiate the best possible price, apply logic and don’t let your heart rule your head.
  • Research the area – Ensure you know everything about the property that you’re looking to purchase. Check out the local area, the average house price, the sort of demographic that lives around there, all this will help you make better more informed decisions.
  • Build Your Power Team – When setting out in to property investment, it is vital to have a trusted team of advisors around you. This should be made up of Agents/Sourcers, Property Accountants, Mortgage Brokers, Solicitors and Insurance Brokers. Also, make sure you get recommendations from other investors prior to appointing someone.
  • Calculate expenses and profits prior to purchase – Have all your calculations and maths done before you sign on the dotted line. Knowledge is power and by calculating what you can afford currently and what you’ll expect to earn you can go some way to reassuring yourself that things will go as well as expected. We would also recommend having a 10% buffer on your estimated expenses.
  • Start small – It can be tempting, if you have the money, to invest in expensive property. High cash expenditure equals more profit, right? Not always. If you purchase a property that has a low market value you’re mitigating risk which allows you to invest more on the next property and so on. Property investment is a long term thing so be sure to walk before you can run.

How To Streamline Your Portfolio And Increase Returns

  • Outsource your tax & accountancy – By allowing experts, such as Williamson & Croft, to deal with the property tax & accountancy issues you can focus on other things that are more important to you and you can relax knowing that things are being taken care of by experts whose job it is to ensure you’re compliant while also being as tax efficient as possible.
  • Consider disposing of underperforming units – Don’t be afraid to get rid of units that aren’t performing in the way that you planned. Having a streamlined portfolio that focuses on quality rather than quantity is better than having a bloated selection of properties that aren’t doing much.
  • Adopt a long term approach – You may hear this a lot but that’s because it’s true. If you want consistently high returns then take a long term approach to your streamline property portfolio. Markets can go up and down and exogenous shocks like pandemics, economic downturns or new laws can’t be predicted but you should take comfort in the fact that a long-term approach is the best way to succeed.
  • Diversification – Spread liabilities and risk in different types of properties, by doing this you’re all but ensuring long-term success because you’ve got enough variety to protect you if things go south.

Limited Companies & Property Portfolios

The notion of purchasing a buy-to-let investment property through a limited company is becoming more and more commonplace. Reduced barriers to entry have seen individual landlords setting up a company, as opposed to just big investors with already large property portfolios. There are lots of advantages to using a limited company to expand portfolios, boost current value and encourage capital appreciation.


  • Rates of Tax – The primary reason people invest in property via a limited company is the significant tax savings that can potentially be made. Why? Well owning buy-to-let property as an individual means your rental profits are taxed alongside other earnings. Typically an individual can see tax rates rise as much as 45% whereas a limited company is taxed at the rate of corporation tax – currently 19%. A potential 26% saving is a real pull for individual landlords.
  • Expand Your Portfolio – Once you’ve set up your limited company you can have a huge array of options when it comes to your profits. A limited company can use the profits to fund another property purchase which is ring-fenced from income tax. If your goal is to pass on wealth to your family then a limited company is an easier way to go about it. You can appoint shareholders, change the ownership of the portfolio and the property is owned by the company not the individual so it’s protected from stamp duty, Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax.
  • Mortgage Interest As Allowable Expenses – As of April 2020 landlords can not deduct mortgages from their rental income for tax purposes, it has been replaced by a 20% mortgage interest tax relief which does reduce their tax liability and won’t reduce their taxable rental income. However, these rules only apply to investors that personally own the property. By setting up a limited company landlords can still deduct their mortgage interest costs.

Capital Gains Tax

This is a tax on the profit you make when you sell assets, in particular a buy-to-let property. In many cases, the gains you make on a property far exceed the tax-free allowance and this tax, combined with income tax, can be very costly. When it comes to reducing your CGT you can employ various tactics to reduce the bill. Here at Williamson & Croft our team of experts will be on hand to help you reduce your bill. In some cases, people’s CGT has been reduced to £0.

Due to the recent Section 24 changes and increased regulations for landlords we are finding a number of investors we work with are disposing of units. It is vital you seek the correct advice prior to this if your portfolio has seen capital growth. Our team will advise you on whether you need to sell off low-value property, reduce mortgage payments or alter the ownership of your portfolio to protect its profitability. Transferring your property to a limited company is also an option but this has the threat of meaning you have to pay capital gains tax. It’s so important to talk to specialist advisors like Williamson & Croft who can spend time reviewing your portfolio

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Introduced in 2003, Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a complex subject with the current legislation full of exceptions, exemptions and reliefs that look to cover as wide a variety of property types and buyers as possible. If you’re growing your portfolio keeping track of SDLT can be very tricky. This confusion and changing legislation can become very confusing and is one reason why a lot of people will overpay on their SDLT, all it takes, to reduce this bill, is to pick up the phone and talk to the experts at Williamson & Croft.

SDLT applies if you’re buying a property that is worth more than £125,00 or more than £40,000 for second homes. The tax applies to both freehold and leasehold properties regardless of whether you’re buying outright or with a mortgage. The tax is calculated on the part of the property purchase that falls within the band.

For example, if you purchase a property for £275,000 the SDLT you owe is worked out as follows:

  • 0% on the first £125,000 = £0
  • 2% on the next £125,000 = £2,500
  • 5% on the finals £25,000 = £1,250
  • Total SDLT = £3,750

We mentioned it earlier but people who are purchasing second homes or buy to let properties pay an extra 3% on SDLT on top of the current rates. The increased rate applies to properties bought for £40,000 or more.

If you’re expanding your portfolio, our team will act as your very own SDLT specialists to ensure your bill is correctly calculated and all available reliefs have been explored.

Audit For The Property Industry

At Williamson & Croft, we have many years’ experience of auditing property development businesses. We are specialists in understanding and applying not only the accounting rules but also the pattern of activity that developers have to deal with, which can be years of relatively high sales and years with little or no turnover. Such variations present risks associated with finance & profitability, but also present opportunities for tax planning. With Williamson & Croft you’ll have a team of auditors who are familiar with the property industry and the specific rules for accounting for properties under development, and stock and work-in-progress.

We possess a wealth of knowledge around the funding, planning and development process and can also display a full understanding of defects provisioning and developers’ ongoing obligations on new build development. We work hard to make the audit process as swift and as non-disruptive as possible. We know that you’re busy enough as it is without having to continually answer questions about your financial statements. Our experience means we can undergo a comprehensive audit process that won’t take you away from your main focus.

For more information about our audit process give us a call on 0161 399 0121 (Manchester), 0151 303 3112 (Liverpool) or contact our audit partner directly at

Why Choose Williamson & Croft?

  • We are an award-winning firm of accountants and tax advisors offering the full range of services to clients within the UK and beyond. This is highlighted by our 5* reviews, and the fact that we are highly recommended by so many of our clients and contacts.
  • We understand that each client, business and property is unique, with their own commercial, financial, and legal barriers to overcome. We know how to navigate each and every situation that comes our way, always considering how we can add real value.
  • We work with a wide array of real estate businesses from commercial and residential developers, institutional investors, lenders, property management and other professional service providers through to commercial and private landlords, providing them with key services covering accounting, tax, and advisory.
  • We are easily found in Manchester and Liverpool and it would be great to arrange a meeting to discuss your business and for you to meet the team who will be assisting you.

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