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Client has done own VAT but wants us to submit

Any issues I need to consider?

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A client has prepared their own VAT as they couldnt afford to pay us but have now emailed asking us to submit the figures for them.  I know they wont have their own gateway or even know what the government gateway is for that matter!  I know the VAT return will be full of errors as they have included the gross sales in box 6 (they're not on flat rate) and zero in box 7 despite an entry in box 4!

Id rather not have anything to do with it but I dont like to kick a person when they're down, especially when their probably sitting in a champagne bar getting ready to jet off to Marbella for a month no doubt!

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By Kevin Kavanagh
05th Jul 2018 15:45

They didn't want you to prepare the return, you know/suspect it may well contain errors, and they can't pay you the going rate. I wouldn't agree to file the return without effectively redoing it and charging what they couldn't pay in the first place.

Thanks (3)
By lionofludesch
05th Jul 2018 15:45

Personally, what goes in boxes 6 and 7 is the least of my worries - but, if you're using HMRC's software, I'm not sure it won't reject a zero in Box 7. It'll certainly give you a warning.

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By andy.partridge
05th Jul 2018 16:05

On a broader perspective it depends whether you want to be considered an accountancy firm or a secretarial service.

Of course, specifically, there is a more fundamental problem for you if you file with HMRC something which you know to be wrong.

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By Tornado
05th Jul 2018 18:29

If they do not have Government Gateway access, then how have they submitted Returns before, or is this the first submission?

You always need to have the Anti Money Laundering regulations in mind and I think you have enough information already to suspect that the VAT Return would be wrong if submitted.

Too much pity on your client could prove a disaster for you so you cannot take this risk. If you really want to help them out then you need to do whatever it takes to prepare a correct VAT Return for them, and charge accordingly, otherwise decline to assist.

Thanks (3)
By Wanderer
05th Jul 2018 18:43

You say you "know the VAT return will be full of errors", ICAEW advice is clear:-

"A member should take care not to be associated with the presentation of facts they know or believe to be incorrect or misleading nor to assert tax positions in a tax return which they consider to have no sustainable basis."

Just kick it back to them & say you can't do it.

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By Matrix
05th Jul 2018 19:03

I agree with all the above. I think this will be an issue under MTD and we will have no choice but to check the figures if we are submitting as agent. It will be cheaper for clients to buy software.

Do you know a bookkeeper your client could use who charges less than you?

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By Chris.Mann
06th Jul 2018 10:35

"I know the VAT return will be full of errors as they have included the gross sales in box 6 (they're not on flat rate) and zero in box 7 despite an entry in box 4"

Surely, if you did submit this return and, future returns, knowing that there are (elementary) errors, you leave yourself wide open to myriad professional issues?
There is a good chance that HMRC, quite correctly will, at some stage, request to check the administration of Vat and, given your involvement, wouldn't that bring into question, your professional integrity?
These people are in business and, I hear your pain, as regards their inability to provide you with full instructions. However, I would suggest that; you either complete the Vat return process, in full, including; preparation and submission or, you seriously consider your position.
Times have changed quite dramatically, within the profession, even in the last few years and, from experience, client's like these are precisely the type, who have the ability to bring into question, your professional reputation.
Reputations are built up, often over a lifetime and, in the blink of an eye, they can be destroyed.

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By bernard michael
06th Jul 2018 10:15

They're looking for a patsy.I assume you aren't one so tell them NO!!!!!

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By andy.partridge
07th Jul 2018 17:55

It's at a time like this I think to myself, 'What would Danny Dyer do?'

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Replying to andy.partridge:
By mrme89
10th Jul 2018 12:13

Say to the client “fack off you cant”?

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By Ranse
06th Jul 2018 11:37

What's next? They will do their annual accounts and ask you to submit it for them .....let them know that's not how your business operate.

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By SteveHa
06th Jul 2018 11:40

They couldn't afford to pay you, but you suggest that they are living the high life?

I'd consider that for a moment.

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By Ammie
10th Jul 2018 11:03

I would not associate my name with any work that I know or suspect is shoddy.

I would explain the problems you have with it, the importance and gravity your good reputation adds to them and that you need to be satisfied that the submission is worthy of your work.

You may need to be firm and possibly unintentionally insensitive but then that's life, you cannot fuel a later issue concerning fault. If they cannot or do not want to pay for it they will have to deal with it or find a cheaper option. But as I say, often cheap is expensive in the long run!!

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By chatman
10th Jul 2018 11:28

I don't see how you can possibly do that for them. There is absolutely no reason at all to do it. It is not part of the service you offer (I hope).

Once you've done this, they've got evidence of your wrongdoing and will have you over a barrel in future negotiations.

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By pauljohnston
10th Jul 2018 13:18

I guess that their turnover is in excess of £83000 and they cant afford for you to do the VAT return but want you to submit it. Assuming your charge is £100 per month for this service are you telling me that out of the large turnover that they cant afford £1200?

I smell a dead rat.

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