Most property investors love Micro Entity Accounts:
- No property revaluation – property is shown at historic cost (Mortgage lenders are not affected by this as they always require a property valuation for lending purposes)
- Minimal disclosure and no notes
- No deferred tax
- Most property investors fit within the size criteria
- No Directors Report
A company meets the qualifying conditions for a micro-entity if it meets at least two out of three of the following thresholds:
- Turnover: Not more than £632,000
- Balance sheet total: Not more than £316,000
- Average number of employees: Not more than 10
The FRC (Financial Reporting Council) aren’t big fans of Micro Entity reporting due to concerns about the minimal accounts giving a ‘true and fair’ view but the whole reason for FRS105 and Micro Entity Accounts was to simplify reporting for SME’s and they definitely do that.
FRS105 allows Investment Property – see FRS105 Section 12
There are certain companies which can not qualify as micro entities regardless of their size
- Members of a group preparing group accounts.
- Investment undertakings
- Financial holdings undertakings
- Credit institutions
- Insurance undertakings
Article 2 of the Accounting Directive – 2013/34/EU as follows:
2(13) ‧associated undertaking‧ means an undertaking in which another undertaking has a participating interest, and over whose operating and financial policies that other undertaking exercises significant influence. An undertaking is presumed to exercise a significant influence over another undertaking where it has 20 % or more of the shareholders’ or members’ voting rights in that other undertaking;
2(14)‧investment undertakings‧ means: a)undertakings the sole object of which is to invest their funds in various securities, real property and other assets, with the sole aim of spreading investment risks and giving their shareholders the benefit of the results of the management of their assets, (b) undertakings associated with investment undertakings with fixed capital, if the sole object of those associated undertakings is to acquire fully paid shares issued by those investment undertakings without prejudice to point (h) of Article 22(1) of Directive 2012/30/EU;
2(15) ‧financial holding undertakings‧ means undertakings the sole object of which is to acquire holdings in other undertakings and to manage such holdings and turn them to profit, without involving themselves directly or indirectly in the management of those undertakings, without prejudice to their rights as shareholders
Is this a problem for Property Investment Companies?
No, most property investment companies are not Investment Undertakings!
I know that sounds odd as it is a property investment and the investment makes it sound like an Investment Undertaking so lets look at this in more detail
- Are there multiple shareholders? generally not its often owned by a husband and wife (or civil partners) – if you have lots of passive investors that could make it an Investment Undertaking, we would need to look at the primary purpose of why the passive investors invested
- Are there shareholders with no involvement in the operation or management of the business? if their primary purpose was investment then it could be an Investment Undertaking – generally that’s not the case because normally property is funded by loans not shares (if you do use external investors you could fall within FCA regulations)
- Are there multiple properties in the same company? This could be seen as spreading the risk which might be an Investment Undertaking but most portfolio investors are seen by HMRC and others as running a property business and they are active in running it, many new investors have multiple companies with a single property in each Company – its better for lenders (charge on property and debenture over company), its better when you sell GCT is based on the share value (net worth) and the purchaser gets very low SDLT 0.5% and may not need to refinance
- Is a small property portfolio a risk management strategy? No, the assets are all of the same class so how can it be a risk management strategy!
- What about a company with one property used by a related party or member of a group? there is no management or spreading of risk so its not an Investment Undertaking