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clients totally disinterested this year for self-

assessment?

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hi. not sure why and maybe others have felt the same. in the last few months leading up to the 31/1 deadline, we are getting the feeling that there is an apathy, aversion, total dis-interest, carelessness and lack of concern among people compared to past years. Granted, no one ever wanted to think taxes, but this year its much worse. They are sending info/records very reluctantly and late, half of it is missing, inefficiency at the highest level, and more oftn than not we dont knwo how to speak to people as we are faced with agitation etc. Could be the situation in the world in last 2 years, could be because people are being taxed through the nose and we are working for the gvnt? people are not totally unjustified in their behaviour - it just happens that being the middle persons we are at the receiving end. and if you think that in 2 years there is much more prtessure coming around with tax digital...

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By 0098087
02nd Dec 2021 10:25

I am so sick of this whole business. Clients are just getting worse and worse. They seem to think the last week of January is the way to go.

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Replying to 0098087:
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By Paul Crowley
02nd Dec 2021 11:22

My former partner had the opinion that the lates and useless take their chances
I was the opposite, chased everybody at least 4 times a year
I have now been running the firm for 5 years and I am getting just so tired of the last minute clients
Last year I even put in a few estimates to protect the probable next SEISS
Have not even bothered to chase that many in this year

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By RobbieT
02nd Dec 2021 17:37

I send out a fee schedule with my first TR information request and subsequent chasers. Same price as last year if received by June; inflationary increase if received Jul-Sep; further 15% increase per month thereafter. It's there front & centre and I make sure it's acknowledged.

January clients are much more palatable when you're billing double, and I've had negligible pushback in the 4 years I've been operating it: they understand why I do it. The same clients tend to drop in the same time every year.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
02nd Dec 2021 10:40

Obviously, it's not a problem I have any more but, in 2020, I was surprised by how quickly I filed the returns. I was done by this time last year - but that was maybe a Covid thing.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
neand
By neanderthal
02nd Dec 2021 10:44

if i may can i ask why you dont have this problem any more?

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By lionofludesch
02nd Dec 2021 10:52

neanderthal wrote:

if i may can i ask why you dont have this problem any more?

Of course you may !

I don't have any clients any more.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
neand
By neanderthal
02nd Dec 2021 10:57

apolgies - none of my business

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By claudialowe
02nd Dec 2021 11:05

Lucky Lion has retired!

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Replying to neanderthal:
RLI
By lionofludesch
02nd Dec 2021 11:06

neanderthal wrote:

apolgies - none of my business

Not at all - it's public knowledge.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
02nd Dec 2021 11:12

I know and I hate you for it, envy oozes from my every pore, whilst I too no longer have clients I still have my employer's various returns to do; still at most 4 years 4 months more to do then the only return that I will need to bother with will be my own.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
02nd Dec 2021 11:09

Lion retired - he wasn't made to walk the plank.

I get the feeling from my self-assessment clients that they don't much care about a £100 fine. Certainly not when weighed against the possibility that their SEISS claims might be subject to a check and, potentially, a clawback. I'm still undecided whether that falls within our remit, esp for those claims that will appear glaringly wrong.

I imagine clients would expect us to perform some level of SEISS checks, and I can understand the safety in numbers mentality of them wanting to file last minute.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
RLI
By lionofludesch
02nd Dec 2021 11:15

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

I get the feeling from my self-assessment clients that they don't much care about a £100 fine.

If they don't care, why should you ?

Problem solved.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
02nd Dec 2021 11:42

No problemo, I just go through the motions in November and December, esp with the dilatory clients. Thankfully I no longer stress over it.

Truthfully I only care if they try to land yours truly with their £100 fines. I've pre-empted that, I hope, by lecturing them on the dangers of leaving matters until January; in case covid restrictions or indeed infection might prevent us or them from performing. Their risk!

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By 1 2
02nd Dec 2021 15:56

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

No problemo, I just go through the motions in November and December, esp with the dilatory clients. Thankfully I no longer stress over it.


Hehe. I still recall the first statutory accounts deadline one of our clients missed, many moons ago. End of month was on a Sunday, and it wasn't as easy to work remotely then. I emailed the client Friday morning saying they had to e-sign figures by 4pm Friday for me to meet the deadline. He didn't. I begrudgingly decided if he did e-sign over the weekend, I would be v annoyed but would head into the office to submit it, good client service and all that. He didn't get round to e-signing until about 2 months later!

Not healthy when accountants care far more than their clients about meeting deadlines!

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Leywood
02nd Dec 2021 13:17

I agree with this, but a few weeks ago I was getting so stressed about being completely ignored whilst chasing for stuff that I got out of my car on day and said to myself, possibly out loud, Im going in that office and telling them all, yes all, to just do one.

Instead I emailed the worst offenders and said I was introducing a chasing charge for every item and that whilst Im generally a miracle worker that I cannot work with thin air so until they supplied what I asked for their accounts would be wrong and it was their problem.

Flurry of activity ensued. So far so good. Plus I have the warning email for when the extra charges appear on their invoices.

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By williams lester accountants
02nd Dec 2021 11:17

Not sure what the problem is there, we solved this years ago by increasing the price the later information gets to us. I have around 10 left to do for this year which we will stop chasing on 17th December and they can go elsewhere if not provided to us by that date.

It is your business, so you need to take charge and demand the info in a timely and ordered way if they want to work with you, else, show them the door.

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
02nd Dec 2021 12:31

I haven't noticed any change. Years ago I started charging a % supplement for late info. Send me the info in December, 10% added to the bill. Send it to me in January, 20% added to the bill. I tend to get a bit of a rush late November as a result but that's better than late January.

Clients only get two requests for info: one in April/May with checklist attached. This also gives notice about the 10/20% charge. Reminder in October. That's it.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
02nd Dec 2021 12:59

I have had quite a number of clients ill this year with colds/flu/covid which has delayed some of the later arrivals of paperwork in the October/early November period but overall we are well ahead of the game.

The only issues is a couple of clients who need to repay their grants are being somewhat immature about it and refusing to sign and "opinion shopping" until they find someone who says that can keep them. I have just said "tell me by Friday 14th Jan what you want to do". Their funeral if they keep them and get rolled by HMRC.

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By Leywood
02nd Dec 2021 13:20

Have your T&Cs got a built in a deadline or two (#) for their SA papers? If it hasnt, get it done now, with a deadline(s) of whenever you feel is appropriate, but stating that this years has been temporarily relaxed but is, say, 10th of December, later delivery will mean filing after the deadline and resultant penalties, blah blah blah. Highlight this on an email too.

# Increase your fees to reflect later date.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
02nd Dec 2021 13:30

I just wrote to the stragglers in November (not email - a letter's more noticeable), telling clients I'd be imposing a queuing system from 1st December and, if they brought their stuff in too late, they could watch me shrug my shoulders.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By RobbieT
02nd Dec 2021 17:39

I like the queuing system, think I'll borrow that one.

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By GHarr497688
02nd Dec 2021 14:21

Yes I am finding this too. The way Government had dealt with clients during the pandemic makes the taxpayer feel deflated. Government should lead by example and so making clients jump through hoops with regard to MTD. SEISS Grants.Not answering post. being off hand on the phone , no human interaction ,higher accounting Fees etc etc. no wonder no one cares .If you treat people like children then they will react like children. I think very slowly the tax system will be in chaos and so I have decided to retire early .

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By 0098087
02nd Dec 2021 14:36

I wish I could retire early. Just couldn't afford it. I will be honest, the amount of extra work through MTD scares me and don't know how it will all be done.

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Replying to GHarr497688:
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By lionofludesch
02nd Dec 2021 14:39

GHarr497688 wrote:
I think very slowly the tax system will be in chaos .....

Oh - you don't think it is already, then ?

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Scooby
By gainsborough
02nd Dec 2021 14:57

I'm finding the worst culprits are the retirees who should have the most time. They are making up around 90% of my stragglers - giving me some bits in August and then nothing since.

However, I am not chasing again until a couple of days before Christmas - saying get info to me by end December or risk it not being done. I would rather have a busier January than any more work now.

(Can't wait to have to chase for quarterly info 4-5 times a year.....*laughs hysterically*).

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By Truthsayer
03rd Dec 2021 10:36

None of my clients are disinterested in their returns, but some are uninterested in them.

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By Hugo Fair
03rd Dec 2021 12:59

Well, I'd like to think most of my clients are disinterested ('not influenced by considerations of personal advantage') in much of their lives, but I take your point when it comes to their appreciation of the exciting world of tax returns.

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By Michael Davies
03rd Dec 2021 10:40

Working for a large firm,over the years I only once submitted all my tax returns by the deadline.The rest of the tax department were shocked each year when I made my report post 31 January.They all reported that they had submitted all their tax returns by the deadline.Turned out unlike me,they never included clients who had not actually submitted the information in time.
I thought I was pretty scientific,chasing clients;only to find out many thought I was a right pain to keep chasing them and moaned about me behind my back to the partners.
You just can’t win.I guess it’s human nature.
The final irony was on the day I retired on 31 January,I had to come back in and complete a return,just as I was walking out the door.

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By scrasey
03rd Dec 2021 11:51

I shared your pain, until Jan 20. Then I had a little gander on accounting web because I was at the end of my tether. My wife and I working stupid hours in January. On the 1st of February I took her and our client list to breakfast and we highlighted our absolute worst clients, then had the pleasure of disengaging them. Then we put in place a policy of books by 30th September. An e-mail on the 1st of October requesting records by the 31st October or there would be a 10% surcharge if received in November. 50% surcharge if received in December, and 100% surcharge if received in January with no guarantee the filing deadline will be met. Obviously we exercise judgement if someone has been ill for example. but wow! what a difference in stress levels. we've completed about half of all of our self-assessments so far and for the remainder we've received about 80% of the records, so in good shape. Actually planning some time off in December and February. Clients have the option of us completing the work in February if they don't want to pay the higher fees. Fine by us, but keeps us sane this time of year. And I will still take the Mrs out on the 1st of Feb and disengage our worst 3 or 4 clients. This year I've been more choosy about who we take on too and it's made such a difference. let someone else have all the sh*te clients.

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By Catherine Newman
03rd Dec 2021 18:23

Likewise. And at this time of year I am chasing bills.

Some clients are now expecting visits to me. Why when they had the whole summer to come when it was warmer?

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7om
By Tom 7000
07th Dec 2021 09:54

Nope, same as usual, you just need a holiday.

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By 0098087
07th Dec 2021 10:05

when can we get a holiday. We ask for wages early over Christmas, they moan and groan. we've had one week off since the start of the pandemic. Mentally destroyed and not sure how we will make it through tax return season.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
07th Dec 2021 10:39

0098087 wrote:

when can we get a holiday. We ask for wages early over Christmas, they moan and groan. we've had one week off since the start of the pandemic. Mentally destroyed and not sure how we will make it through tax return season.

Just tell them that they've left it too late, 009.

They'll only do it once.

Who's running your business ? You or your clients ?

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By Jimess
07th Dec 2021 10:49

Yes some clients are getting later, more demanding, and information is getting messier with clients expecting us to do a lot more of the preparation work that they would normally do - and then complain when their bill is a lot higher than last year. We had a glut of tax returns came in last month, all much later than usual, and they are still coming. I have to grit my teeth when my clients talk about their Christmas plans as I know for sure that mine will be much the same as every year I have been working in taxation - delayed until February!

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By lionofludesch
07th Dec 2021 11:00

Jimess wrote:

Yes some clients are getting later, more demanding, and information is getting messier with clients expecting us to do a lot more of the preparation work that they would normally do - and then complain when their bill is a lot higher than last year. We had a glut of tax returns came in last month, all much later than usual, and they are still coming. I have to grit my teeth when my clients talk about their Christmas plans as I know for sure that mine will be much the same as every year I have been working in taxation - delayed until February!

My mantra was "I'm not bothered about filing on time if you're not."

More deadlines are to be created in the years ahead. Get your clients under control before that happens.

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boxfile
By spilly
07th Dec 2021 13:22

It’s my excuse for avoiding all the Christmas build-up. ‘Sorry, some blighter’s only just sent in their tax info and wants it done ASAP, otherwise I’d love to come to your party/lunch/concert’.
I’d rather be busy now and have time off in the summer!

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By North East Accountant
07th Dec 2021 16:32

Some bring the stuff in on 6th April and some on 6th February with everything in between.

If everyone was the 6th April we'd be in trouble as there is 10 months of work to do so if you bring it to us late and you get a penalty.... well you might bring it in earlier next time.

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Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
09th Dec 2021 17:27

Weirdly mine are being slightly better this year so far - which means that the ones who are always late will be even later. Given the chaos of the rest of their lives the £100 fine doesn't bother them...

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