Share this content
0
2354

Teach someone how to complete their tax return?

An unusual request.

Didn't find your answer?

Search AccountingWEB

I've recently been asked to assist someone with their tax return as they are having problems using the HMRC software.  Now it transpires that what they actually want me to do is teach them how to complete their tax return.  I don't feel comfortable with this as I feel it undermines my hours of professional training and years of experience.  As for pricing the job, I 'd stuggle to value the input i would be bringing for the same reasons.  What do you think?

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By Matrix
23rd Jun 2019 10:31

I have had the odd similar request over the years and now just say that this is a service which we did not provide.

I once was a little bit more helpful as the lady said she had 3 family returns and was short of cash but she followed up with a cheeky email about how to put the figures on the return, which regrettably I just had to ignore as I was busy with paying clients.

You are on the road to nowhere so refuse politely.

Thanks (2)
avatar
23rd Jun 2019 10:31

Depends on the fee but wouldn't have thought it was worth your while.

Thanks (1)
avatar
23rd Jun 2019 10:32

Try saying NO - it works usually

Thanks (2)
23rd Jun 2019 10:41

Oh, I don't know. With the current pace of change, the client will probably need a refresher course every year.

Thanks (3)
23rd Jun 2019 12:11

Probably a client you'd be looking to ditch anyway as a PITA so quote what you would for preparing the return.

Little things change on the return each year and maybe they'll be back with a different question each year

Thanks (1)
23rd Jun 2019 16:22

What’s the problem? Just quote your usual fee for completing a return.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By SXGuy
23rd Jun 2019 19:15

I have had this before a few times. In fact one this year. "I think I might do my own return this year, if I get stuck I'm sure I can call you to guide me through it"

No, I'm sorry but I'm not about to teach you my job because you don't want to pay for it.

One last year said, oh I don't want you to do my SA just tell me what boxes to put the figures in.

First time this happend I was stunned that someone actually had the cheek to ask, shortly followed by trying not to lose my rag.

If they don't want to pay for your service, they can do what they think is right and deal with the fallout when it's discovered it's wrong.

Sorry Dr, I don't want to pay you for my knee op, but if you just explain how it's done I'll do it myself.

Thanks (4)
By marks
23rd Jun 2019 22:07

I would just say "Google how to complete my tax return" and say its all there.

Tell them it might take them a year or so to read through all the guidance but that it will be worth it in the long run.

Thanks (3)
avatar
24th Jun 2019 09:51

My initial thought would be to refuse, but that's based on experience of clients who would "have a crack at it themselves" only to call at the eleventh hour on deadline day and expect someone to be available to walk them through the process of filling in the return on HMRC's site over the phone. "Have I put this in the right box?" No idea, mate. Haven't a clue what you're looking at.

I would just give them a quote based on what you'd usually charge them to complete the return. Amazing how often it transpires that they actually expect you to do it from the goodness of your heart.

Thanks (2)
24th Jun 2019 09:58

I get asked that from time to time, and apart from "no" I would explain to do your return is much quicker than to teach someone how to do it. Ie if you can play an instrument, its much easier to play a song, than teach someone else to play the same song, moreover if the song changes, its much harder to teach someone to play any song, not just the specific song you asked to play.

Thanks (2)
avatar
24th Jun 2019 10:30

Do it once and they'll be back every year asking you to 'Cast a quick eye over it, it won't take you long' which you should interpret as 'Please check everything and take full responsibility for every entry but I don't want to pay you but I do want you to sort it all out for free if ever HMRC disagrees or I get anything wrong'.

Also they'll be in touch at the eleventh hour asking for their log in details and getting annoyed when you explain that you don't have them and equally annoyed when you won't give them your agent's log in details.

And if they ever log in you'll be on the phone for hours whilst they read out each screen from HMRC's online system and ask you to explain what to do at every stage.

Thanks (2)
avatar
24th Jun 2019 10:51

Pertaining to this thread what do you think of this from an unknown individual

"I got your details of a friend and was wondering whether you might be able to help, I am trying to assess the capitals gains tax I would pay on a 2nd property (let to buy property) I'm selling, the details are as follows:

(very comprehensive details of purchase and sale information followed)

Then this

"I would be interested in knowing your thoughts on this and whether you think I owe any tax, if I do owe any tax please could you advise me what I should do next ?"

Guess what my response was !!

Thanks (0)
to bernard michael
24th Jun 2019 11:06

bernard michael wrote:

Pertaining to this thread what do you think of this from an unknown individual

"I got your details of a friend and was wondering whether you might be able to help, I am trying to assess the capitals gains tax I would pay on a 2nd property (let to buy property) I'm selling, the details are as follows:

(very comprehensive details of purchase and sale information followed)

Then this

"I would be interested in knowing your thoughts on this and whether you think I owe any tax, if I do owe any tax please could you advise me what I should do next ?"

Guess what my response was !!

Details of your fee structure ?

Thanks (0)
avatar
to bernard michael
24th Jun 2019 11:21

Tell us how you replied!

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Duhamel
to bernard michael
25th Jun 2019 13:20

Have I missed something? Why didn't you just quote a fee for a CGT computation?

Thanks (0)
avatar
24th Jun 2019 11:19

Thanks all. I have historically been too soft, but you have given me the confidence to say no to this one!

Thanks (0)
By DJKL
24th Jun 2019 11:21

I'd like to get paid for my work
Not furnish it for free
If you cannot get onboard with this
You know where you can shove

I'd like to teach the clients I have
That it’s not just my time
I charge them years of studying
Even when I wasn’t inclined

I'd like to see the clients for once
All standing hands outstretched
And hear them willingly pay their bills
For fees throughout the land

(That's the song I hear)
I'd like to get paid for my work
Not furnish it for free
I'd like to get paid for my work
Not furnish it for free

Thanks (0)
to DJKL
24th Jun 2019 11:23

The rhyming needs a bit of work, DJKL.

Thanks (0)
By DJKL
to lionofludesch
24th Jun 2019 11:33

Its not that far away from the New Seekers original version, if it was good enough for coke its good enough for accountants.

Thanks (1)
24th Jun 2019 12:25

If you are just starting out the temptation is to take on anyone who walks through the door (or rings if you dont have an office) - such as the one in your question. But you will find that another client will come along who will want you to do the work correctly and entirely and appreciate your efforts - so say 'no' in this instance.
I no longer take on clients who do their own work incl their own bookkeeping. I cant stand the grief. I spend hours getting it right and get a 'it wont take you long - all you need to do is check - Sage says it balances'.
My staff and I do the lot or not at all.

Thanks (2)
avatar
By AIMCON
25th Jun 2019 11:39

I have been asked a couple of times over the years. I politely told them that my PI does not allow me to do so.

Thanks (1)
avatar
to AIMCON
25th Jun 2019 12:05

Why tell them a lie? Just say it will take far more time and money to do it their way than your way, and so it is not in the client's interest to offer such a service.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Nippy
25th Jun 2019 11:47

What always niggles me is when they say "why are you charging me £180+VAT - it's really simple?". Fine#! Go away and do it yourself.

Thanks (0)
avatar
25th Jun 2019 11:51

I did this once for a client with some buy to let properties and I won't be doing it again, for the same reasons as others have posted. I wonder now how they coped with the change in allowable interest over the last few years? Their records needed work when I took them over and did the bookkeeping. I suspect they just reverted to what they were doing previously. Ho hum!

Thanks (0)
avatar
25th Jun 2019 11:56

I tend to ask the "client" if they would take their car to the garage and ask the mechanic to teach them how to service it ?

I have refused to do this many a time and never lose sleep over this.

Thanks (0)
25th Jun 2019 12:18

Have a minimum fee, that usually gets rid of time wasters. You can say happy to help but we have a minimum fee of say £350 to £500 plus VAT.

I did this a long time ago and it certainly gets rid of the sorts of clients you don't really want. If they want to pay, then fine they are the sort of client you want.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By dollop
25th Jun 2019 12:56

You are on a hiding to nothing here . They are bound to come back to you with queries. The disruption factor will make any training fee worthless. Also if it goes wrong they will blame your training . So engagement letters with "no responsibility needed" . Dont do it

Thanks (0)
25th Jun 2019 17:48

Never say No! say

sure £250+vat per hour, it will take about 2 hours and that's not too bad is it...as if I did it for you it would be £800

Thanks (0)
Share this content