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Self assessment survivors

Many Accountingweb members have been sharing their self assessment season trials and tribulations with us - but now we're asking, what would you do differently next year?

For some members sore points include shoe-box, unorganised and late clients, for others things ran seamlessly.

Spare a minute to answer two quick survey questions here and receive a free expert guide with Digita guidance later in the month. 

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Stop working for friends & family

What more can I say?!

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Late client

I have one client (a lovely one) who, despite being prompted in April and July and later, will still leave it until January to send me his stuff. It's an easy enough return and he's a busy hard-working guy but....... So I think next year I'll put his fee up but offer a discount back to this year's fee if I get the stuff by October / early November.

 

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Stop whinging!

There are very many people out there who would love to be busy in January so we should all watch what we wish for. Personally I love the buzz of a busy January as it is followed by a mellow February and March ... light and shade is good in life.

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100,000,000,000% this Steve!

Steve Holloway wrote:

There are very many people out there who would love to be busy in January so we should all watch what we wish for. Personally I love the buzz of a busy January as it is followed by a mellow February and March ... light and shade is good in life.

Couldn't agree more.

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Its all coming back to me

I am returning  to practice after a 12 year spell in industry so this year was quite mild for me as only had about 15 SA returns to do although most of these were done in January (including my own).

This year I aim to sign up a lot more work so will have maybe 50/60 returns to do this coming. i am of the same opinion as Paul Scholes and that I am aiming to have all simple returns (Directors, Employed plus rental income etc) are completed by 30th September and hopefully any sole trader or partnerships done and dusted by Xmas holidays. I too have a few friends and family who are always last minute who I am currently re educating.

I intend to have a clear desk for January 2014 which I intend to use for marketing and signing up more work.

Obvioulsy this proabably wont happen in practice and I will be sitting on 31st Jan with 3 returns still to file.

But you can only hope.

I thought I had got away from the Janaury rush when I left practice 13 years ago, only to take on a a group FD role where all company year ends are 31st December so ended up probably even busier than before as the company owners insist on external auditors starting on site on 1st February.

I therefore have not had a good January for many years, not sure if its just me but its got to be the worst month of the year to be busy as it is a total killer after the Xmas break.

 

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I agree with Steve

It frustrates me when clients leave it until the last minute, too.

I think a lot of clients are leaving it late so they don't have to pay their accounting bill earlier.

I also think that if I made more effort to keep up to date with work which I did get early then it wouldn't be difficult to deal with the clients who leave things late. I did have a lot of computer problems in December so if I'd done the work I had received before then I wouldn't have had a problem.

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Late Clients

Accountants should be grateful of the work even if it is late. Many clients do not have that luxury any more, particularly those in construction. Busy January, quiet February, March. Be grateful for the customers who pay you late or not.

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I'm grateful for those who bring it in late....

because I charge them more for....

...having to work 18 hour days.

...working through the night.

....not sleeping for worry over their frigging deadlines.

 

Sorry for the bitterness, but I've discovered something worse than the January deadline. It's the VAT deadline which shortly follows the January deadline. 1 Feb to 7 Feb is definitely going to be my least favourite time of year.

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To be frank

cparker87 wrote:

because I charge them more for....

...having to work 18 hour days.

...working through the night.

....not sleeping for worry over their frigging deadlines.

 

Sorry for the bitterness, but I've discovered something worse than the January deadline. It's the VAT deadline which shortly follows the January deadline. 1 Feb to 7 Feb is definitely going to be my least favourite time of year.

That is just ridiculous, especially the middle one!

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Start earlier for me.

This was my first busy January (only second one since returning to practice).

I enjoyed it, however if I gain as many clients this year as I did in 2012 (57), I need to start pressing clients for information a lot earlier, otherwise I'll be swamped.

I see it as a case of educating clients. I have several whose tax returns were completed in January and had tax to pay by 31 January. They now know if they had submitted their returns by 30 December, then that tax could have been collected through their 2013/14 tax code.

Others have gone self employed during the current tax year and know they will be due a tax rebate. They already know its in their best interest to complete their returns asap.

Several other self employed who may be due a rebate after accounting for POA, therefore in their interest to complete their returns asap.

If I do this right I can take advantage of all the latecomers looking for someone to complete their returns in January!

Most of my clients are on monthly payments, so delaying the submission of their tax return doesn't impact on their cash flow (unless they are due a refund).

 

 

 

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.

The main thing that I got wrong was me, I got stressed over a couple of returns I should have said "too late" to.

The ones I did say no to, we are wrapping up this week in a leisurely manner. They are all regular late returns, so well used to paying fines, their choice I say. The ones I got done are not normally late, so I did them as a "I will do it this year but not again".

 

 

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You can also sign up here for our free frontline report, which should be available mid-February. 

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it didn't help

being ill from Christmas until well into the first week of January.

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I can empahise with that Innkeeper ..

last January my kidney stone decided to make a two week trip around my sensitive bits. This year was a doddle in comparison.

 

Cparker87 ... you are either very disorganised or have way too many clients for your own health and wellbeing. I did work every day including weekends but I do so to ensure that the last week is just a mopping up exercise and I never work past 5.00.

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The Bitterness..............

First rule of business: DO NOT GET EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED!

It is not your tax bill......

It is not your penalty......

It is not you who has left things to the last minute............

If you are working 18 hours/all night and worrying/ not sleeping about someone else missing a deadline you will become ill.

They are late. They probably expect/deserve a fine.

They probably won't be late again after the fine and advice from a strong Accountant.

Finally these people are not pests nor friends.

They are clients. Paying customers. They should be earning you a minimum of £80k per year if you have a good manner, good service, fair prices and expert advice.

Be grateful to all these late clients. They are coming to you and not a competitor!

 

Thanks (1)

If you take pride in your work and enjoy making a difference to your client you automatically get emotionally involved to some extent.  The key is to know when to (and be able to!) stop the emotional involvment - ie  because you have done everything you can for the client and they need to do their bit.

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Equitable Liability

Could you put in an 'assessed amount' for those who are late with their paperwork and then claim 'Special Relief '. I have a special interest in the little known rule of Equitable Liability [details at present with the Parliamentary Ombudman]. How does the accountancy world view Special Relief and its restrictive nature [time limits]. I will pass your thoughts on!

 

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I found the comment from Anita very interesting, and am assuming that she is (and I am so glad that someone is) calling HMRC to book for some of the "revisions" that have been made to the vartious Acts, all of which seem to be in their favour.  Refunds cannot be taken into account if they are more than five years old, but determinations, penalties and interest that is more than five years old still stands !  I have a client, who, having suffered five heart attacks in just over a year, and then underwent surgery to save his life, finally got paperwork to me for 10/11, although did not have all of his income details.  I chased up the firm that should have provided this, prepared the accounts, got client approval etc., and filed the SA Return late enough to incur the wrath of the Revenue.  Daily penalties, £100 late filing penalty, the lot.  There was no tax to pay (refund due), therefore no loss to the Revenue.  I submitted an appeal, together with a doctor's letter detailing the serious health problems which had affected all aspects of this person's life - response "the deadline for making an appeal has passed".  I do not think my client is well enough to face a tribunal, and he is certainly not well enough to pay the penalty.  Is this the cure for the National Debt, squeeze the little man ?

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Premium Rate for slowcoaches!

I stop reminding clients after November, and charge premium rates for tax-deadline work sent to me in January. They normally result in working outside "normal" hours so the client should pay for the priveledge!

This time round, January was extremely busy with lots of other non-tax-deadline but equally important (and pre-booked) work, so I'm thinking of next year bringing the cut-off date for tax return paperwork forward into early December.

And the best part of 31st January tax-deadline? 1st February billing!

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Never again!

Year 9 of being sole trader and worst yet! I've never had a late return yet and take pride in that, even although that's all through my own hard work and long hours and nothing to do with my late clients who think I have nothing better to do!  I normally do enjoy the buzz, and a good night out at the end!  This year I ended up in hospital before xmas and off through to 7th Jan when I arrived back at my desk to 38 tax returns!! Lots of simple returns that could have been done last summer but I agree that clients seem to be holding off to save paying fees any earlier. I managed all 38 on time - one was a 5.30am on 31st Jan, more for my benefit to meet my own personal undefeted target than for the clients measly £100 penalty.

Payroll and VAT demands on my time don't help!

Interestingly 3 tax returns were family members who pay no fees.  2 were friends who pay not very much! They have all been warned!!

The illness was a shock but also a wake up call.  I'll be using it as an example to my clients as one reason why if they leave their returns late I may not be able to do them due to circumstances outwith my control!

New years resolution - to be more ruthless!  My family deserve to see me in January.....if it's not in at the start of the month it's not getting done!

Ask me again next year!! :-)

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DD helps with this ...

as clients have no reason to leave it late (if fees is the motivation). I have to say though that with a core it is simply the desire to put things off that dictates timing

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Delaying to avoid paying fees

Agree with Steve, if you get clients to pay you as the year progresses, it actually makes sense for them to get you to do the work earlier than later.

So this year, the two of ours that were late had already paid the fees for the year.

These days there's no reason to do the work then have to wait for payment.

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It's very disconcerting...

... when AWeb keep bumping this question. I keep thinking that perhaps the last fortnight were just a dream.

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January

Is the month I stop being an accountant and become a primary school teacher of a large unruly class, many of whom are not even potty trained. That's how it seems anyway.

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George
Your wit!

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Yeah

How are you doing that?!?  Your question is dated after your answers!  How are you doing it?!?

WITCH!  BURN HER!!!!

 

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Editing?

Is the date and time the edit date?

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Well...

... ok, that might be it... To be safe though we should see if we can build a bridge out of her.

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Oh God!!!!

It's like Groundhog Day!

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Oh God!!!!

It's like Groundhog Day!

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Oh God!!!

Did someone mention Groundhog Day?

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Groundhog day is a great film! :D

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Last time I do that, I promise, folks! 

If you haven't already done so, I'd really appreciate it if you shared your experiences with us by filling our our self assessment survey. 

If you already have, thank you and I won't bother you with any more repeated Any Answers! 

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Just as well

Some of us like looking at your picture so don't mind stuff like this ;)

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Are you allowed to say that?

JCresswellTax wrote:

Some of us like looking at your picture so don't mind stuff like this ;)

I'm sure I wouldn't be!

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If we are allowed to say it

JCresswellTax wrote:

Some of us like looking at your picture so don't mind stuff like this ;)

then I say it to you :)

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Trouble is....

I now can't remember if I filled it out or not, deja vu makes things very uncertain at my age!

Anyone like looking at my picture?....don't care who...anybody/thing !  :o)

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Yes, Paul

I like your photo :)

I like black & white photography, too, and am a big fan of Ansel Adams.

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What about my picture?

It's my favourite - even compared to the ladies.

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I agree Peter :)

The most handsome of all (although the duck looks quite cuddly, too).

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Is this a dating site?!

Cool!

Well I'll admit Peter's picture gets my vote and I'm partial to ducks and penguins. Rachael's is pleasing to the eye but George would be top of the human ones - it's those rugged good looks and roguish air! ;)

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