Property Investment Series: Stamp duty and buying property through a Limited Company – Rachel Martin answers all of your accounting questions

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“Once you realise what you want, you can manifest that. I always say, put your blinkers on and just focus on your goals – and my goal is buying a house.” – Febe Campbell Collins

An introduction to our podcast guest, Rachel Martin, founder of Accountant_She.

Rachel Martin is a TEDx speaker, an author, a business owner. And most importantly, for this episode, an accountant, she is the founder of Accountant_She, a female led accountancy firm, which specialises in working with entrepreneurs, influencers and business owners. 

The company was built with the goal of helping clients get past the top three barriers to entry for women becoming self-employed, which are cited as access to funding or finance, imposter syndrome and business support. She’s an author of the book, The Tax Guide for Influencers, which has had great success.

She is the Director of striveX, which she runs with her Fiancé James which is a much broader, paperless accountancy and tax advisory firm that uses cloud software to provide a digital solution for your everyday accounting.

I just loved her energy and everything she said. I just think this is the future of accountancy. Our conversation really demonstrated the difference in the business of self-employed people now, such as influencers, YouTubers, TikTok accounts – these are real careers and not enough firms take them seriously. 

Rachel and I are very aligned in our businesses and very aligned in how we think. 

This episode is aimed at investors looking to see how they can tax efficiently buy properties to let out and for those of you who have businesses who want to know about business protection and how you can use your accountant to help you get your mortgage.

Listen in above or read below for a summary of our conversation.

Rachel, tell us a little bit about you and your business…

I’m a speaker, an author, a business owner, but most importantly for today, I’m an accountant and a really, really big part of what I do is growing and scaling our accountancy practice. This time last year, the business was just me and my life partner and business partner, James. We are now a team of nine and we scaled from 50 clients to 400 clients in 12 months. A really big part of what I do is growing and scaling the business. But the other side of it really is a huge passion for the finance and accounting industry.

I’m trying to create community and passion and education for people that think that they might like a career in finance or accountancy, and trying to showcase the really fun and passionate side of finance – to encourage, educate and inspire other people to consider a career in accountancy as well.  I’ve always felt like you can do a serious job without taking yourself too seriously. 

Tell us about your TEDx talk…

My TEDx talk was all about how to leverage being an introvert to grow a successful business.

My personality type has always been woven into my work and what I do as a business owner. It’s just about changing people’s mindset and perspective, you don’t actually have to be the sociable life of the party in order to grow a successful business. And actually as introverts, we’re actually quite often much more self aware of our own shortcomings and downfalls and actually as business owners.

Being an introvert is really interesting because I think a lot of people think it means that you don’t like socialising. 

Quite often people say “you are not an introvert”. it’s absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you like socialising, being an introvert or an extrovert is actually just based on how you gain and lose energy. So I, as an introvert would lose energy by coming onto a podcast and chatting to you. But you as an extrovert, would come off the call absolutely buzzing. It’s like having a cup of coffee to you where, to me it’s like taking a sleeping pill. It’s actually about how you gain and lose energy.

We (Jamie and I) only make one plan every weekend because we’re both huge introverts. We absolutely love spending time with people. We love what we do in those plans, but the rest of the time, we just need to regroup because at work, we as business owners, it is quite an extroverted role. Managing a team, speaking with clients – we get like 250 emails a day. The phones are ringing constantly. It’s just about putting boundaries in place that make sure you are protecting yourself.

People that work in the financial sector, we do tend to be more introverted because we like rules and we like order and that’s why we like numbers so much.

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We will work at times that suit you and your family, carrying out appointments via video call, telephone or email, giving you the benefit of first class service, around your own schedule, and in the comfort of your own home. So let us handle your mortgage today and find out how well we can look after you, The Mortgage Mum way!

You’re an accountant for influencers which is quite a new thing potentially for lots of people listening and potentially for accountants too.

A lot of people don’t take influencers seriously. Influencers are a huge part of my life. They are a huge part of the content I consume and what I do in my free time – YouTube videos, Instagram content etc. It was a no brainer for me.

I love the online community and from an accounting perspective, it’s causing huge change and the accounting rules and regulations surrounding what influencers do, what they actually have to declare as revenue because a lot of the revenue that influencers generate isn’t cash based. It’s gifting, it’s ads, it’s paid promotions, it’s free stays etc. 

And that’s where my book came from. So I wrote the The Tax Guide for Influencers because firstly influencers do not get enough credit because they literally do everything for themselves – they’re so self-sufficient because you just have to learn to do everything yourself. And so if you work in that industry, quite often, you don’t want to get an accountant because you want to be able to know how everything works and do it yourself. So that’s why I wrote The Tax Guide for Influencers.

They can use the book to get to the point where they’re choosing to get an accountant rather than feeling like they have to have one. I absolutely love working with content creators. I love talking to passionate business owners (which they are), learning how their business works, how they generate revenue, it’s incredible.

If I’m purchasing a property through a limited company, do I need to pay stamp duty?

The short answer is yes. Stamp duty is such a huge part of buying properties and it’s something that so many people forget about as well. People forget that it’s an upfront cost. It’s not something that you can just pop onto your mortgage. It is an upfront cost and it’s something that you need to incorporate into your financial plans as well. 

And if I was to buy a property for a limited company, I own a residential, I would pay the surcharge on that property? 

Yes. James and I, my life partner and business partner, we own some properties and this was a huge part of our decision making process as well. I think the first thing which probably isn’t relevant for this specific question is that planning ahead is really, really important. And actually doing research before.

The really important questions we had to ask ourselves before we decided are:

Are we going to go through an SPV? (Special Purpose Vehicle)

Are we going to incorporate a separate company? 

Are we going to do it ourselves? 

What are our long term plans? 

What is the purpose of purchasing this property? 

Do we want to sell this one day? 

Are we just buying it to invest some cash to pay off the mortgage and sell it in the future? 

Is this for our children? 

For so many people it really does depend on what your long term plans are for the business as to whether or not actually transferring is the right thing to do. 

If you’re paying the mortgage from a separate pot than the revenue goes into, it’s really easy to segment that and make sure that you are not confusing the mortgage payments as being tax deductible.

That also means that actually, if the property’s ever empty, you can financially afford to pay the mortgage regardless of whoever’s in there.

In an ideal world, that’s perfect. Your profits are kept completely separate. 

It’s just nice knowing that no matter what happens with the house, even though we have rent protection, all of the insurances, no matter what happens, we know we can afford to pay all of the mortgages regardless of what’s happening with the properties and anything that does come in is extra. 

It’s really important to draw lines in between what an accountant can advise on and what a solicitor can advise on. 

Company structure is 100% something that accountants would really guide you in terms of what personal tax bracket you are in, what is the outcome of this property for you etc. Then that’s normally at the point where if you weren’t even considering selling it to yourself, actually getting a solicitor on board is definitely the right thing to do.

So it’s just about giving as much clarity as we can.

Part of your job is to try and make things as tax efficient as possible for your clients. 

That’s great, but that means on paper, they may not be able to borrow as much as they realistically feel they deserve to be able to borrow cause they know what they’ve earned.

Whenever we speak to a client from the very first conversation through to every single set of accounts, we are asking the client, firstly, what is your priority from this set of accounts? Is it profit extraction or is it tax efficiency? And secondly, do you plan to purchase a property personally within the next three years? If the answer is yes to that question, we would then refer them to Sonya at The Mortgage Mum and engage in a conversation because things like company structure affect mortgage advice, things like profit extraction affect mortgage advice, things like plans for the business affect mortgage advice, things like having a chartered accountant that can give you an accountant certificate affect mortgage advice.

Speak to an expert

We will work at times that suit you and your family, carrying out appointments via video call, telephone or email, giving you the benefit of first class service, around your own schedule, and in the comfort of your own home. So let us handle your mortgage today and find out how well we can look after you, The Mortgage Mum way!

It’s really important to talk about how a good accountant can help you to get a mortgage.

If you have an accountant and are self employed, you’re probably actually going to go to a mortgage broker more than anybody else. Accountants can make it quite difficult for people to feel like they can be really engaged in their numbers and excited about it. 

We educate business owners on things your accountant can do to make your life easier. So if you are a good person, you’re trying to buy a house, you are trying to run a business whilst trying to find a house, probably be a parent at the same time etc, so you can actually just introduce your mortgage advisor to your accountant. You can actually just become a triangle rather than just being an individual, dealing with a mortgage advisor. Your accountant can just speak directly with your permission to the mortgage advisor and get it all done.

It’s just about little things that we can do to make communication easier and that is really helpful for you in that situation. 

We owe it to ourselves to improve the way that accountants are helping self-employed individuals get mortgages, because it’s why we’re all here. Running a business is amazing, but we are all here for the same reason and that is our long term goals. And for most people, mortgage advice is a part of that.

I imagine a huge part of your audience are people that need mortgages?

The alignment between what The Mortgage Mum does and what we do is incredible. And so it’s a very organic referral for our clients. It feels like an extension of our business, but also people trust their accountant. I do. And people approach their accountant for referrals and recommendations for lots of different financial advice, solicitors, financial planning, mortgage advice. We get asked for recommendations to mortgage advisors all the time. And so if you are growing and scaling your own mortgage practice, consider reaching out to other accountants and building close relationships with them. So from the accountant’s perspective, you are adding value to their clients, but what you are doing is actually getting exposure to an entire portfolio of an accountancy business for free.

Business protection is an area that we’ve noticed definitely needs improvement and definitely needs more businesses to be aware of.

Each year, when we do somebody’s accounts alongside what your personal plans for the next three years, business protection is something that internally within our checklist, if we see a business where there is a business protection insurance going through, we actually flag it at the year end. We feel like it’s our responsibility to educate other business owners on.

We don’t offer it as a service ourselves. We just make an introduction to somebody that can help them. But for us as small business owners, it’s a huge part of what we do in terms of trying to help people protect themselves. And the same goes for pensions, if we see a self-employed individual that doesn’t make private pension contributions we’ll also flag it at the year end.

We’re not doing anything that everybody else shouldn’t be doing and they’re not trade secrets. It’s literally just caring for people and making sure that fundamentally we are helping them look after their families too.

It’s really important that everybody in the financial sectors work together.

We want to break the stigma that the financial industry is something to be afraid of or scared of, or that it is a cold industry because there’s so much heart and passion in what we do. People trust us to actually look after a part of their business that quite often gives them a lot of anxiety. 

Do you only hire women? 

No, we are very diverse actually. 

I specialise in working with female entrepreneurs and influencers, but as a practice, we work with everybody. We have everybody from the tradesmen all the way through to influencers and content creators. We learn something from every single set of accounts, every single business owner.  It’s that diversity that helps you create change because you see what everybody needs, not just what one sector needs and you can apply it.

Speak to an expert

We will work at times that suit you and your family, carrying out appointments via video call, telephone or email, giving you the benefit of first class service, around your own schedule, and in the comfort of your own home. So let us handle your mortgage today and find out how well we can look after you, The Mortgage Mum way!

So James, obviously he’s your business partner? He’s your life partner. How long have you two worked together? 

We only started working together in 2020. That’s how fast the scaling happened. We met at work.  (It’s the only way accountants meet each other because we’re all introverts and don’t have a social life!!!)

We’re getting married next year. He’s incredible. He heads up all of the technical accounting within the business. He manages the whole accounts team and my role, so very strategic. I do a lot of consultancy. I have a real passion in working with female business owners to get them access to funding and finance, which is one of the big barriers to entry for female entrepreneurs.

We have been quite strategic in terms of how we split it. On a day to day basis, we don’t work closely with each other and that obviously helps. Dog walks are our board meetings and Coco Pops are also board meetings!! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

During lockdown, people have become really involved with each other’s businesses and we’re seeing more and more couples become business partners. We have a lot of clients who are also in a relationship and are business partners. It’s really lovely to actually just surround yourself with people who are doing it as well. But James is fascinating and he is very introverted!

Actually as a business owner that isn’t in business with their husband/partner, they come along the business ride, whether they’re in it or not, my husband knows the ins and outs of everything that has happened. All of the ups, definitely all of the downs, they help you make decisions before they are ever formally part of the business.

And with business protection it’s important to speak to your partner, should the worst happen, about what would happen to your business. These are such important conversations to have and there are decisions to make surrounding shareholders, employing people if you’re too ill to work and so on.


Thank you to Rachel Martin for joining Sarah Tucker on The Mortgage Mum Podcast. Listen to The Mortgage Mum Podcast on all major podcast directories including Apple and Spotify. You can also catch up on previous episodes on our website and on The Mortgage Mum YouTube channel.