I have a client who is on life support in hospital and is unlikely to be of any help in the next month.
They are a medium sized landlord and I have *most* of the data as it came in some months ago, but there are gaps which we had been waiting for until we found out this week why we hadn't heard anything. His wife isn't involved in the business but is a co-owner of the properties.
My plan was to:
1. Prepare draft accounts on a best estimate basis
2. Prepare a list of estimates and assumptions
3. Send these estimates with the draft tax returns to the wife to sign so there is full disclosure
4. Get return in before end of Jan.
My concerns are:
1. Sending a return in without the proper client authorisation. The clients are relatively young and don't have power of attorney in place so the wife ought not be signing for the husband in theory.
2. Ticking the "estimates" box on the return triggering requests for a final return at a later date - would it be better to just put in the white space whats happening? Based on the illness I think even if he makes it out of hospital (which is at best 50:50) this is going to be beyond him for a long while, possibly permanently.
3. Should I attach a doctors note or similar to 'ward off' HMRC from taking an interest in the matter? Clearly they must have 'heard this one before' in terms of excuses people make for not doing their returns properly.
I am trying to do the best for my clients in terms of getting HMRC off their backs at a difficult time but at the same time avoiding getting in hot water myself by sending in non-signed and estimated accounts etc.
I am probably over-thinking this massively, but any help appreciated.