Share this content
29

Can I tell you what really annoys me most about

january? It is the last minute clients who, not only are so rubbish that in a ten-month window they

Didn't find your answer?

suddenly wake up in the final fortnight, but when faced with an "unexpected" tax-bill they then inform me they cannot possibly come up with so much money at such short notice, so please will I call Her Majesty's Renegades and Cut-throats and agree terms. Oh - and I'll pay your invoice once that is sorted. I'm a bit short now cos I just got a massive tax bill.

Cue: that emoji showing the desk-worker smashing his head into his computer until his head explodes.

OK, thanks. Feel better now.

Replies (29)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By Moonbeam
17th Jan 2019 21:32

I will never do a tax return until I'm paid up-front. The usual suspects always express surprise at this. They are the very ones I'd have to chase from dawn until dusk otherwise.

Thanks (1)
RLI
By lionofludesch
17th Jan 2019 22:08

I never agree terms for clients.

They'll have to do it themselves.

Thanks (2)
Replying to lionofludesch:
By Red Leader
18th Jan 2019 11:26

Same here.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Red Leader:
avatar
By iknell
21st Jan 2019 14:22

Ditto

Thanks (1)
Replying to lionofludesch:
avatar
By JDBENJAMIN
22nd Jan 2019 12:28

Me too.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By soundadvice
17th Jan 2019 23:24

It is indeed quite incredible when I look at the list of clients invoiced in January and see how it is the same culprits whose names appear on the almost identical dates each year! It actually makes life easier in a way because we know exactly whose returns we will be doing in the last 2-3 weeks of the tax year. These clients seem beyond training to get things done early so I just take them and love them just the way they are! I now try to liken the tax season to that of a wine producer who gently tends his vines during the year and then works all hours to get the grapes in when they finally ripen; never known a great vintage but it pays the bills for the next few months!
I think I’m ready for a break!!

Thanks (5)
Replying to soundadvice:
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Jan 2019 09:28

soundadvice wrote:

It is indeed quite incredible when I look at the list of clients invoiced in January and see how it is the same culprits whose names appear on the almost identical dates each year!

I used to make a list of returns still to do around 1st December each year.

Now I just photocopy last year's.

Thanks (7)
avatar
By Manchester_man
18th Jan 2019 00:36

Yes, I'm sick to death of clients asking me to arrange payment plans for their tax bills.

From today, my standard response will be 'here's the phone number, you need to speak to them yourself'. I hate making those phone calls. They are ok if you have specific reasons that the client is unable to pay, in fact in such circumstances they are more than reasonable, but when there is NO valid reason, other than the client would find it less painful to 'pay monthly' rather than all in one go, I despair.

Don't even get me started on the clients (thankfully the minority) who seem to think we set the tax rates or we haven't been 'creative'.

Rant over. Had two today wanting me to arrange time to pay.

Thanks (4)
avatar
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
18th Jan 2019 07:32

Agree with others - I just give the client the TTP number if the topic comes up.

It’s their job to it the tax, not yours. What happens if they later claim that you made the arrangement too cash heavy without their permission? (ie over 6 months not 12).

Thanks (1)
avatar
By soundadvice
18th Jan 2019 08:47

Totally agree I just tell these clients they have to speak to HMRC directly because HMRC will ask personal and financial questions that only the tax payer can answer.

Thanks (3)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
18th Jan 2019 09:34

My standard riposte is "if we filed this in April for you, you would have had 10 months to save up"

And also, its never filed until we get paid. No exceptions, apart from I will accept an cheque before its been cleared. Anyone who sends you stuff really late in the year will pay you late too given half the chance.

Thanks (0)
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Jan 2019 09:38

When clients puff their cheeks out at the size of the tax bill, I ask if it would have helped if they'd known earlier.

Yes ? If only you'd dealt with your tax return sooner .....

Thanks (1)
avatar
By bernard michael
18th Jan 2019 09:45

I prepare the the returns but don't submit them until my fees are paid by cleared funds into my bank or cash into my hand

Thanks (0)
Replying to bernard michael:
avatar
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
18th Jan 2019 09:54

I took on a client (only minor rental income) a few years ago who said he’d only be able to pay me 50% Feb, 50% March, being when no council tax is due. Sure I said (& upped the fee by 50% as ‘danger money’).

Thanks (1)
Replying to bernard michael:
avatar
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
18th Jan 2019 09:55

bernard michael wrote:

I prepare the the returns but don't submit them until my fees are paid by cleared funds into my bank or cash into my hand

Every year I say “I do this next year”.

Thanks (0)
By Glenn Martin
18th Jan 2019 09:52

What do you make of this.

I have a client who normally gets his info on time in Sept/Oct, this year he didn't as was busy failed to turn upa few times etc so brought books in at start of January.

As he was leaving the office, he chipped in with I have recommended you to 3 or 4 of my pals who have not done there tax yet either so they will be calling you soon.

WTF could he not have recommended them in June.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Glennzy:
avatar
By andy.partridge
18th Jan 2019 10:20

Sounds like some good work there for February. Well done.

Thanks (1)
Replying to andy.partridge:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
18th Jan 2019 13:45

Well quite.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Glennzy:
avatar
By Open all hours
18th Jan 2019 21:20

He didn’t recommend before because he previously didn’t know how well you respond under pressure or how gullible you are. Only you know where you are on this scale.
Either way a 50% uplift should smooth the way forward.
What about the teacher who finds tax impossible in term time and cannot possibly do anything in the summer holidays and declares that ‘Christmas’ is the worst time of all?
She doesn’t read my emails and she didn’t open the Christmas card with the final reminder in it.
I might recommend the late gang to her, she’s probably quite proficient with all the experience she’s gained doing her own return this past week.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By bernard michael
18th Jan 2019 10:07

Did he pay it ??

Thanks (0)
avatar
By TaxTeddy
18th Jan 2019 10:36

So many of these clients remind me of Fr Dougal McGuire..... "Well Ted, as I said last time - it won't happen again".

Thanks (3)
avatar
By zarar
18th Jan 2019 14:19

I feel your pain !

I now send a draft with an invoice and once paid I issue the final for signing.

And new clients who ask for a discount in January ! Um no, you're lucky I'm not charging you double !

Next year I will be adding a surcharge for December and January - with plenty of warning that this will happen

Thanks (0)
Replying to zarar:
By Red Leader
18th Jan 2019 16:07

I already do.

+10% for TR info sent to me in December
+15% ditto in January

Thanks (1)
RLI
By lionofludesch
18th Jan 2019 14:31

I got annoyed last night by some fillum on ttelly where they were showing a sunset played backwards and pretending it was a sunrise.

Just get out of bed in a morning - lazy cameraman !!

Thanks (1)
Logo
By marks
19th Jan 2019 01:56

If you dont want these clients who habitually hand in their records in January then you are under no obligation to act for them.

At the end of the day it is your business and you run it how you want to run it and you can choose whichever clients you want to work with. You dont have to act for every person who asks for your help. We dont deal with;

1. Someone looking for a cheap accountant. They wont value what you do and will always move to the next person who can do it cheaper. There will always be someone willing to do it cheaper than you.
2. People I just dont get a good feeling for - had a case like this last month and told guy i didnt get a good feeling from him after 5 minutes of the meeting and asked him to leave.
3. People who as you - dont want to disclose my cash income.
4. People who are rude to your staff
5. People who are either; farmers/solicitors/charities/doctors as we dont deal with those sectors as have no knowledge of their specific requirements.

When we write to clients in April with their tax return checklist for the just ended tax year we say what the fee will be and what the discounts are for getting records in early and surcharges are for handing in late. We have always done this since we started 5 years ago and not had a single client complain about it.

Currently the rules are

Hand everything in before 31 July - 10% discount
Hand everything in between 1 Aug and 31 Oct - no discount/uplift
Hand everything in in Nov - 10% uplift
Hand everything in in Dec - 25% uplift
Hand everything in in Jan - 33% uplift

Thinking of increasing the uplift fees to 15%, 33% and 50% respectively next year.

Thanks (2)
Replying to marks:
avatar
By adam.arca
19th Jan 2019 10:46

marks wrote:

Currently the rules are

Hand everything in before 31 July - 10% discount
Hand everything in between 1 Aug and 31 Oct - no discount/uplift
Hand everything in in Nov - 10% uplift
Hand everything in in Dec - 25% uplift
Hand everything in in Jan - 33% uplift

Hm, interesting, "great minds" and all that as I have exactly the same categories except I'm a bit less heavy with the pen:

Discount to July 5%
Nov +5%
Dec + 10%
Jan +20%

I'm a bit lazy with pricing and only tend to increase it every 3 / 4 years, usually by 5%. In year one, that then allows me to sell getting the books in early as avoiding the price rise. I'll offer the discount again in year two but won't bother with it in years three and four, and then the cycle starts again.

The extra charges are in my detailed T&C but I like your idea of having them up front and central so maybe will move them onto the face of the info request for next year.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By taxhound
19th Jan 2019 17:47

I have just received this email today:

I would like to arrange a time to meet a tax advisor to discuss my Personal Tax. It would be preferable to meet this week (w/e 25/01/2019) if possible to ensure my Self Assessment can be completed and submitted by the deadline on 31/01/2019.

Would you please contact me via email to advise on availability?

Just wondering where to start with my reply...................

Thanks (0)
Replying to taxhound:
RLI
By lionofludesch
19th Jan 2019 17:58

Here's a template...

Dear Gormless

I'm so sorry but the next ten days of my diary will be completely taken up with the returns of other halfwits who have left their tax affairs until the last minute.

In any case, I'm afraid that I have a sufficient quantum of this tardy class of clients and, indeed, I will be looking to offload some of them if they don't buck their ideas up.

Good luck in the difficult job of finding someone prepared to take you on .

Best wishes.

Yours etc

Thanks (7)
Replying to taxhound:
avatar
By JDBENJAMIN
22nd Jan 2019 12:36

When I get these sort of approaches, I simply say I will be glad to assist you, but it will have to be in February. If you want to avoid the penalty, you will have to find another accountant willing to meet the deadline. Occasionally the prospect takes me up on those terms, but usually you never hear from them again.

Thanks (1)
Share this content