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Tax expertise

Small firms

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How do small firms deal with specialist areas of tax? Do you have any recommendations to outsource work?  I use DTE connect for any specialist work.  Who do you use?    Do you tell clients that you are referring to a specialist or claim it as your own work?

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By daniel_
26th Nov 2019 12:43

We use Croner Taxwise for specialist advice and have always been happy with the responses we get.
We're transparent about it and pass on the fees at cost.

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By SteveHa
26th Nov 2019 16:15

I work in a small firm, and am employed specifically as "the tax guy".

For more specialist stuff I spend a lot of time with various volumes of Tolley's yellow and orange open around me.

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Replying to SteveHa:
By SWAccountant
26th Nov 2019 16:59

Living the dream.

Me too.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
26th Nov 2019 17:40

Why would you pass it off as your own work?

That sounds like very dubious ethics.

We do ours at cost, and don't charge for my time dealing with it, which I see as my training time. Often the client will deal direct with the tax expert as they are likely to get a higher quality finished result. Sometimes I act as " interpreter" in the middle, especially if the expert is a "shoe starer" type and talks in tax legislation, but it depends from case to case.

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By penelope pitstop
27th Nov 2019 00:15

Remember that if the problem is too technical for you and you are out of your depth tell client you are going to have to get some specialists involved.

This happened years ago with an A & M trust which was about to be hit with a massive, problematic CGT charge. With only a few days left to sort out the problem I phoned a tax specialist at PWC who then got a specialist trust lawyer (whose head [and presumably brain] was literally four times the size of a rugby ball) to sort out the problem. I think he/they charged about £7,000 for a day's work but, boy, did that sort the problem out.

My own involvement was some tax calculations, but most of the work was done by the egg-headed lawyer.

Also, remember that although you may be "jack of all trades, master of none", there are employees of say PWC who just specialise in only one area, for example "interest on underpaid tax", who will know absolutely everything there is to know under the sun on the subject.

You just have to know when the matter is out of your comfort zone.

I remember years ago working for a small firm of Chartered Accountants with about 50 employees, but we would still drag the Grant Thornton VAT consultants in arond the boardroom table when the VAT problem became too tricky.

But I would imagine that nowadays a tax helpline is probably the most used, although it is amazing who knows what out there in the UK. The problem I always found was finding out who knew the answer to a particular tax problem.

There are some big (tax) brains out there!

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
27th Nov 2019 11:11

I am an FCA and therefore have all the expertise required. No, really.

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By In a Daze
27th Nov 2019 14:16

We use Ross Martin. I mainly use the website to confirm i am doing things in the correct manner. Although on occasions we have had to bring in the experts.

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paddle steamer
27th Nov 2019 14:31

Local but national Scottish CA firm is our current go to first port of call re general tax planning over my pay grade, and we do use odd vat gurus from time to time and we are even currently using a firm of solicitors with a CTA partner re some intergrated IHT, succession planning coupled with shareholder and partnership agreement issues, POA's and wills- the all in one house approach ought to make logistics easier than having distinct solicitors and accountants (well that was partly my thinking when we took this route)

It is like building houses and football, you need a trusted professional team set up with lots of different skills and at least one substitute for every position.

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By marks
28th Nov 2019 23:59

We use Ross Martin and tax helplines with Croner Taxwise and ICPA for general queries.

For more specific stuff we have links with 8 separate tax specialist

1. CIOT generalist that has his own tax firm
2. VAT specialist
3. Personal specialist
4. Corporate specialist
5. R&D specialist
6. Capital Allowances specialist
7. Property specialist
8. Tax enquiry specialist

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Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
06th Dec 2019 09:24

Years ago I ran the tax support operation at WJB Chiltern. Hundreds of smaller firms used the facility to secure expert tax help when they encountered situations outside of the norm. After I left, the firm and service was acquired by BDO.

In 2007 I set up the Tax Advice Network to replicate the facility and service. Hundreds of accountants now choose independent tax experts from the Network for tax help.

The tax adviser members are typically happy to either supply the tax support you require to you or, if you prefer, to work directly with your clients.

Whether you advise clients you have sought external advice is up to you and may depend on the complexity of the issue. It's a HUGE mistake to pretend that you know the answer to all tax questions - unless you really do (which is rare in my experience).

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