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Internal checklist for reviewing SA Returns

Checklist for reviewing Self Assessment Returns

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Hi I am working for a firm of financial advisors and want to put together a checklist for them with things to look out for when they are reviewing Self Assessment tax returns for their clients.

To save reinventing the wheel does anyone have one to hand they are willing to share or are able to point me in any relevant direction please.

Thanks

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Caroline
By accountantccole
16th Oct 2019 12:36

Who is reviewing what? - are the FA's reviewing SA returns or do you mean accountants are reviewing and looking for referral opportunities to FAs?

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Replying to accountantccole:
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By alisonis
16th Oct 2019 12:48

The FAs are reviewing SA returns before they get sent to clients with a view to ensuring they reflect any changes in circumstances and also to see if there are any tax planning opportunities. They are not expected to know the ins and outs of a self assessment return, and the return will already have gone through a thorough review by the tax manager

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By Matrix
16th Oct 2019 12:45

Do you mean a list of information required to complete a tax return so they can dig it out and give it to you?

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Replying to Matrix:
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By alisonis
16th Oct 2019 12:49

No, as they will be checking completed SA Returns

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
16th Oct 2019 12:59

Completeness is always the issue, unless their ingathered data held contains full details of all assets/income then not sure what they can do re this, that issue then really devolves to the end client.

Re what a FA should look for re his/her perceived planning matters, surely that is for the FAs to determine. Given the SA will hold no details of tax sheltered products that the client holds,my question would be, is it the best document upon which to base such reviews ?

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Replying to DJKL:
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By alisonis
16th Oct 2019 13:08

Granted, but given that we are in the privileged position of being able to offer joined up tax planning the idea is the IFAs alert the tax team of potential tax planning opportunities and the tax team then work together with the IFAs to deliver that.

In other words the tax team may not necessarily be aware of the client's overall financial position so I am looking for a checklist which triggers the IFAs to deliver the missing info!

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Replying to alisonis:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
16th Oct 2019 13:17

You are here into the realms of unknown unknowns.

If you want to do this you need a wealth management style database where all data, not just tax return data, gets maintained, something like the one my son was helping to write for a large German bank in Frankfurt a couple of years ago.

The tax return may supply earnings , rents, income from savings and investments, pension contributions etc, but does nothing re assets held, investment mix, pension funds, latent CGT profits/losses on assets, yields, it is a backward set of data telling history and is not a planning document in itself being merely, in the main, the income part of the picture.

I would more look at how the data gets extracted from it and added to a far more comprehensive database that is maintained, anything else appears to be lip service to fact finding.

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By thomas34
16th Oct 2019 13:21

With all due respect Alison, what you're saying is (I think) that the FA's are preparing the tax returns but may not have the knowledge (or more importantly the experience) to be satisfied that they haven't missed something.

Any tax planning will invariably by definition relate to the products that they are hoping to sell. Tax planning is in my opinion something that should be done by accountants.

If as a result it requires one of your FA's products they either recommend the client in your direction or if they have the authority do it themselves.

Sorry to be so harsh but your FA's seem to want to have their cake and eat it.

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Replying to thomas34:
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By alisonis
16th Oct 2019 13:40

No, the tax team IE the accountants are preparing the returns and then passing them to the FAs for a cursory check before they are sent to their clients. Obviously it is the accountants who would instigate the tax planning but without the knowledge the FAs have of the clients they may miss things, hence the check list....

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By mrme89
16th Oct 2019 13:21

Looking at a SATR to look for financial planning opportunities seems misguided as it is based on past events.

A large capital gain might indicate a nice wad of cash, but if they have subsequently spunked it away at the casino, it's of little use to you.

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By DouglasN
16th Oct 2019 14:13

Not sure about about a "checklist". Sounds more like a communication issue?

Checklist for FA - Have you identified any tax planning opportunities for this client - if so tell the tax department.

Checklist for Tax dept - Ask the FA if there are any tax planning opportunities.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
16th Oct 2019 16:36

Id suggest you train the people who are preparing the tax returns better, rather than trying to using low grade "tickers" on the tax return production line, which is then reviewed by pressumbly some incredibly bored IFA's in the off chance they spot something. Which would generally be impressive given the best chance to spot stuff is (shock horror) know your client and TALK to them.

This is where "big business" production line approach falls flat on its face, and the good old fashioned sole prac wins the day.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By DouglasN
16th Oct 2019 16:52

I don't think that is what the OP is saying. The tax return is reviewed by a tax manager. The IFA is not reviewing the return for accuracy/completeness - this has already been done by the tax manager - the IFA is looking at the tax return to either check that any changes from tax planning have been implemented, or to spot any potential tax planning opportunities.

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Replying to DouglasN:
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By alisonis
17th Oct 2019 09:35

Spot on

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