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When is too late

Scunnered with paperwork arriving today

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This year I have tried everything to push clients along to send me everything in a timely manner. Then two parcels arrived today which were promised way before Christmas. I usually try to make sure all tax returns are submitted before 31st but I'm p****d off. I reissued my fee and engagement letters with penalties for late returns and in the whole that's worked fine. I have increased fees substantially for late clients and have charged some for a priority service and out of office working hours.

In exceptional circumstances I might give a client one final warning before hitting them in the pocket. With the payroll and JRS grants to complete I don't have much time left to complete. When is paperwork too late in your opinion and do you also charge out of office hours or week-end rates for poor client care.

The easy option if I can't educate them is to wave bye bye.

 

Replies (14)

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RLI
By lionofludesch
21st Jan 2021 16:29

I've always emphasised to stragglers that there comes a point, usually around December, when they join a queue.

I've never put myself out to save these folk £100. They didn't put themselves out for me.

However, happy to work weekends in January if it suits me.

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By Youareatit
21st Jan 2021 16:35

Phone them, tell them what date in February that you can start work on it, tell them the penalties. Then confirm your conversation via email, so they also have it in black and white.

Then get paid/do the work, then dis-engage (if they have pi88ed you off that much).

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By mumpin
21st Jan 2021 17:09

Stop moaning and think of the bank balance at the end of Feb - ready for you to take a £40k div on 6th April!
Imagine if the government said everyone had to get their carpets cleaned once a year and the carpet cleaners complained about the late-comers. How much sympathy would you have?

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Replying to mumpin:
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By LukeS
21st Jan 2021 17:29

Maybe they want a better work/life balance than just thinking what's in the bank......

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Replying to mumpin:
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By Youareatit
21st Jan 2021 17:53

Only £40k?

Not quite the same though is it. Carpet cleaner gets carpet cleaner out from a cupboard, puts in van, drives to house, gets out of van, plugs in, off he goes.

That parcel of pond dregs that arrived in the post will not be ordered that quickly (if it could be the OP wouldve done it whilst waiting for the kettle to boil).

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By SXGuy
21st Jan 2021 18:08

Never work out of office or on weekends unless it's someone I've known a long time and know they apreciate it.

When is the right time to consider it being too late? When you say it is. If you think it could all be done in a few days next week and you have a lot of free time then obviously it's not too late.

If you don't have the time and feel pressured to meet the deadline even after requesting the paperwork to be received within time in order for you to meet that deadline, then I'd say its too late.

One thing to note though royal mail has been very back logged of late. Had a client ask if I received his cheque he sent on the 21st December, it didn't arrive until 7th Jan.

Make sure it really is a case of late client and not late post whatever you do.

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boxfile
By spilly
21st Jan 2021 21:10

Yep, I’ve had 2 turn up this week that I’ve been chasing for since the beginning of November.
I’ve told them that I can’t guarantee that I will be able to file before the 31st, and that I will be charging for any penalty appeals (one has already flagged that they think that Covid will be their valid excuse).
Definitely not burning the midnight oil for them.

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By carnmores
21st Jan 2021 22:10

just get on with it ;-)

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By mbee1
22nd Jan 2021 08:32

Apart from the first weekend in January I will have worked all of them by the end of the month as will most of the staff. Lots of weekdays have been 10 and 11 hour days too. We've always don it and will continue to do it - it's the nature of the job in this profession.

We don't pay overtime but our salaries are above the market rate and, when February comes, they can have the time back between then and the end of March.

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By Moonbeam
22nd Jan 2021 10:10

I think you've got to be very clear and upfront about final deadlines in early Dec at least. And one of your warnings should be that if you get stuff late because the post is late, then it's plain late and outside your deadline.
If they want to be sure of you're doing the work on time they need to get it to you before your deadline regardless of anything else.
I've got one TR to do. For the usual suspect. I've suddenly had to take time off for lots of waiting around in A & E. If I have to do much more of that, the TR will be late, but it won't be my fault, as he's had bags of time to get the data to me since last March.

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By nf1236
22nd Jan 2021 10:39

I set a date for final submissions and with the ones that I know will come in the last week of January I always say if they got it in sooner they would pay less but I’ve got to charge them more now to complete as I’ll be working out of hours. Same amount as the penalty but they don’t seem to care so long as they are not paying hmrc more money! Ridiculous but for years it’s been the same story with the same ones.
I usually start chasing in September and then again in December when I also set them a deadline, that varies depending on the person or if they are new. I do get niggled by the late comers but is part of the job and I always say to all clients first week of February I’m away catching up on sleep.

At present time I’ve still got about twenty to come in. They’ve all been told they will be very lucky if it gets done before the deadline now.

Only one has really niggled me and that’s a small one I do that I didn’t charge a lot for as I was doing her business accounts. Business has gone and didn’t think would need self assessment but she turned up two days ago and expecting it at the same fee yet she’s got more work. Wouldn’t have minded so much if she had come to me during a quieter time. Ok there hasn’t been a quieter time since last March but you know what I mean. Moan over.

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Replying to nf1236:
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By Andy Reeves
26th Jan 2021 16:29

Since your fee is tax deductible, it should be more than the penalty!

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Replying to nf1236:
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By Andy Reeves
26th Jan 2021 16:29

Since your fee is tax deductible, it should be more than the penalty!

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By coops456
25th Jan 2021 14:09

HMRC has announced:
"that Self Assessment customers will not receive a penalty for filing their 2019-20 tax return late, as long as they file online by 28 February. We are still encouraging customers who have not yet filed to do so by 31 January, if possible.
Customers still need to pay their Self Assessment tax bill by 31 January. Interest will be charged from 1 February on any outstanding liabilities. "

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