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Interesting response from client

Is there a subliminal message here?

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I've now sent 4 e-mails chasing a client for their tax return information . Over the weekend I get this response. Are they trying to tell me something?

    A LITTLE STORY TO START YOUR CHRISTMAS SEASON IN THE RIGHT SPIRIT One day, when four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the pre-Christmas pressure.  Then, Mrs. Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more. When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth, and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.  When he began to load the sleigh, two of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered. Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a glass of cider and a shot of rum.  When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the rum. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor.  He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.  Just then the doorbell rang.  An irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and... there stood a little angel with a big Christmas tree! The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?' And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree. Not a lot of people know this.   

ying to tell me something ?

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By mrme89
18th Dec 2017 10:05

'Thank you for the Christmas email. I am glad that you have realised where you can still the tax return that I've chased you for four times'.

Thanks (2)
18th Dec 2017 12:13

Yes. All so often anger/frustration is expressed "as a joke", is the client male by any chance?

Why do you waste time chasing them so often? Once or twice is enough, then just ignore them.

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to Paul Scholes
18th Dec 2017 13:48

Paul Scholes wrote:

Yes. All so often anger/frustration is expressed "as a joke", is the client male by any chance?

Why do you waste time chasing them so often? Once or twice is enough, then just ignore them.

Apologies for hi-jacking the thread. Ive sent a text to one of my clients, followed by an email, both have been ignored. Is that sufficient do you think? Im on holiday the final week so he's had it if he contacts me any later than the 12th of January. (Space allocated the following week just in case)

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to legerman
18th Dec 2017 15:15

Depends on your relationship with your clients, I've known accountants who carry poo bags around to clear up their clients' mess, then thank them for the honour.

Certainly if a client is persistently rude, eg not replying to or acknowledging requests, then I either ignore them and, if they bother to bring the info, make them wait till I'm ready to do the work, or tell them to go and hack off someone else.

I'm too old for this stuff.

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to legerman
18th Dec 2017 16:29

you end up wiping their noses for them if you're not careful.

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18th Dec 2017 14:16

Are they trying to tell me something?

The old adage, "you can't please all of the people, all of the time", seems apt here?

No, I don't think that they're trying to tell you something. If I were in your situation I'd be writing to confirm that, if you haven't received the information you require, by close of business, this Friday (22nd December) that they might like to ask someone else to listen to the "tale of Christmas" and where Santa empties his sack.

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18th Dec 2017 14:30

Ach - just cut him a bit of slack until next week.

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18th Dec 2017 15:26

Lion I regret I cannot as SHE is very attractive

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to bernard michael
18th Dec 2017 16:47

If she was causing me problems, I wouldn't care what she looks like.

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to bernard michael
20th Dec 2017 12:43

Bernard - what on earth has that got to do with it? Is your relationship with this client a personal one or professional?

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to bernard michael
21st Dec 2017 23:14

Ugh. Have you not seen recent news about unacceptable behaviour?

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18th Dec 2017 16:25

Had an email from a client asking me why he hadn't received a statement from HMRC because he wanted to pay his tax while while he had the money to hand. I told him:
1. You won't get a statement because they haven't processed your return.
2. They won't process your return until I have filed it.
3. I won't file it until I have your express authority to do so.
4. You won't authorise it until you have seen it.
5. You haven't seen it because I haven't sent it.
6. I haven't sent it because I haven't done it
7. I haven't done it because you haven't sent me the information.
8. You haven't sent me the information because you never do before January, despite my encouragement
9. You never do because you can not be arsed
10. You can not be arsed because you have total [***] contempt for everything I try to do for you every [***] year.

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to andy.partridge
18th Dec 2017 16:40

Seems reasonable to me.

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to lionofludesch
18th Dec 2017 16:51

He agreed.

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to andy.partridge
18th Dec 2017 17:04

andy.partridge wrote:

Had an email from a client asking me why he hadn't received a statement from HMRC because he wanted to pay his tax while while he had the money to hand. I told him:
1. You won't get a statement because they haven't processed your return.
2. They won't process your return until I have filed it.
3. I won't file it until I have your express authority to do so.
4. You won't authorise it until you have seen it.
5. You haven't seen it because I haven't sent it.
6. I haven't sent it because I haven't done it
7. I haven't done it because you haven't sent me the information.
8. You haven't sent me the information because you never do before January, despite my encouragement
9. You never do because you can not be arsed
10. You can not be arsed because you have total [***] contempt for everything I try to do for you every [***] year.

Love it!

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to JCresswellTax
18th Dec 2017 17:15

Did you really say that, or just think it?

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to andy.partridge
18th Dec 2017 17:59

You should send that to the regulatory bodies to include in exam syllabuses!

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By Ammie
to andy.partridge
20th Dec 2017 11:09

Superb!
Can I have your express authority to anonymously quote it?
I may wish to go further and print it up in large capitals and pin it on my office wall.

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By Matrix
18th Dec 2017 17:49

I decided not to chase anyone this week as want a short week. Bizarrely now everyone has suddenly started emailing me.

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19th Dec 2017 08:36

Andy Partridge

I am nicking that response!

Julie

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20th Dec 2017 10:56

I always told clients that if information is received after 30th September:
a) I couldn't guarantee their tax return/accounts would be completed and filed by 31st January.
b) There would be an additional charge.

It worked for most clients!

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to Jack the Lad
20th Dec 2017 11:11

There are always a few and it is the same 'few' who respond late. Before I even started the returns, I could pretty well guarantee who the last one's to respond would be. No amount of threats would make them change. It is ingrained in their personalities. The only hope is to restrict such clients to the ones you like, who respect what you do and who make up only a small element of your client base (for your own sanity).

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By Ammie
20th Dec 2017 11:03

Although quite a familiar scenario it also amused me!
Every year I get a little more tougher on liberty taking, (putting as mildly as I can), clients. This year I have bitten the bullet and discharged myself from dealing with a few time wasting clients and admittedly, although financially poorer for it, feel better for it.
More of my clients will be receiving penalties this year as their time is up, my well being is far more important than their tax returns. Lord help them when MTD kicks in because I won't be.
The same crowd year on year, who find it funny leaving it until the very last day, literally, and have the gall to phone and email me ten times in one day fearful of the penalty.
I know, I have been the fool for entertaining it for far too long. Times are a changing. Now where is my mince pie?

Thanks (1)
20th Dec 2017 12:08

To the OP - that person may well have had a particularly bad month, illness, every thing going wrong at once etc. You just don't know.

Under the circumstances I would email one last time stating that only if received by 'x' would you guarantee the filing by the due date. I would also mention that this would be the last chase for info email before the deadline.

It is highly likely that they are swinging the lead but you just never know. And yes we all do still get the ones turning up literally on the 31st.

Above all enjoy that day or two off at Christmas as January is always a long month. Used to work Boxing day but no more.

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By Boris M
20th Dec 2017 12:40

A new Santa has probably been appointed already!

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to Boris M
20th Dec 2017 17:22

"Some bigger, nastier elves at HMRC keep a very special Christmas tree just for Santas who don't deliver their toys on time. It's called a Late Filing Penalty and it will hurt Santa a lot more than an ordinary tree when it skewers him. The good fairies at his accountant's office would love to wave their magic wands, but their magic doesn't work after XX XX XX, so if Santa wants to be able to sit in his sleigh ever again, he'd better get his tax return information together."

Most clients are reasonably organised in their approach - they have to be to survive in business. But some are chaotic, their lives lurching from one crisis to another. And if they're constantly firefighting, never able to look beyond today's problem, then they stretch deadlines as they get themselves into situations where they genuinely can't find the time to get the information together. They just hope that you can work miracles for them.

You can feel some sympathy for them, but you mustn't allow it to destroy your own sanity or disrupt your own business or famly life. Perhaps a reply in kind on the lines of the above.

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20th Dec 2017 17:11

As it is from a woman I would say that it means: I am in a mess everything is getting on top of me and the last thing I need is endless emails from you.
From a man it would mean : P off

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20th Dec 2017 19:35

Came in this AM to receive an email from my client,who vehemently objected to my urgent reminder to him.One of his returns is really tough and will take ages,just when you just want to get stuff out of the door.I will not be reminding him again if this is the tone of his response.I sometimes wonder why we break our necks at this time of year.

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to Michael Davies
20th Dec 2017 21:37

If it's not urgent to him, it's not urgent to you.

Some clients need to pay £100 for a lesson in urgency.

It often does the trick.

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By Slim
to lionofludesch
21st Dec 2017 09:52

To quite a few the penalties aren't harsh enough, always the same ones.

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By NH
22nd Dec 2017 07:32

we get them all this time of year, one email thread from this week -

Have you done my return?
No, you have not sent what we asked for.
Here is all i have
You have already sent that twice but its the wrong year
I am sure I sent that
You did but its the wrong year
OK what do you need?
P60, P45, details of rental income
(after a few more emails)
Thanks for the rental details, is the mortgage repayment or interest only?
Yes

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22nd Dec 2017 12:56

Love the original email. I'd have been inclined to respond with something like "I take it you're really busy, so I'll explain that to HMRC and hopefully they'll let you off doing a tax return this year". I don't tend to have too many problems as I double my charge-out rate for tax returns received after 1 December (clearly stated in 6 April letter), so if they do come in late I'm happy doing the work for silly money. And yes, I do charge the extra, and yes, they do pay! But ususally only for one year, and next year it all comes in earlier. You have to be cruel to be kind sometimes!

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By Robyn
02nd Jan 2018 01:15

andy.partridge wrote:
Had an email from a client asking me why he hadn't received a statement from HMRC because he wanted to pay his tax while while he had the money to hand. I told him:
1. You won't get a statement because they haven't processed your return.
2. They won't process your return until I have filed it.
3. I won't file it until I have your express authority to do so.
4. You won't authorise it until you have seen it.
5. You haven't seen it because I haven't sent it.
6. I haven't sent it because I haven't done it
7. I haven't done it because you haven't sent me the information.
8. You haven't sent me the information because you never do before January, despite my encouragement
9. You never do because you can not be arsed
10. You can not be arsed because you have total [***] contempt for everything I try to do for you every [***] year
LOVE LOVE IT

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