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Averaging a grant to write a book over 6 years?

A writer has received a grant of £30k from a university to write a biography of someone relatively obscure. She received half in 2008/09 and half in 2009/10, and I showed these accordingly on her tax returns. In speaking with her this year, it turns out that that the work is likely to be spread over 6 years as follows:

2008/09 30%

2009/10 20%

2010/11 15%

2011/12 10%

2012/13 15%

2013/14 10%

Given the extended period Authors Averaging seems inappropriate. She is still incurring costs, and as part of her work will need to find a publisher, who in turn will probably also receive some financing from the university, she can reasonably assume that any possible royalties from the book would be negligible (certainly no more than £100 a year).

If it were reasonable to do so, I would like to resubmit the 2009 & 2010 returns showing the amended percentage. She was a higher rate tax payer in 2008/9 and is now semi-retired, so will have nothing to offset the expenses against.

What thoughts might you have?

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Good luck - you'll need it

I think even under the old error or mistake rules I think you'd have done well to re-do 2009.  The approach you took was reasonable and going back to come up with a different version of reasonable doesn't work.  Under the new Special Relief rules for amending earlier years, I think you don't have a prayer.

But 2010 should be an easy amend on the basis that by end 2010, half the work is done and half has been declared.  So take the £15K out and spread it gently across the next 4 years.

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Thanks for the comment Marion, I agree with your thoughts.

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