I've been asked by a family friend to help him out of a tricky situation - he's a tradesman/handyman and has three years of tax returns to complete. 14/15 records went to accountant as normal in late 2015, accountant was arrested and imprisoned for fraud. Tax return was not completed and records not returned. Said accountant now deceased - efforts to recover records futile - penalties issued for non-filing, etc etc etc.
The guy then went to one of these "business support" people who took a nice load of money (cash!) up front and promised to sort the mess and do the 14/15 and 15/16 returns. After the friend received further letters for non-filing of 15/16 accounts, the 'business support' became unresponsive to correspondence and appears to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Some googling and Companies House snooping reveals an interesting collection of dissolved entities and the current business accounts overdue by 9 months - fairly safe to assume this one has gone too.
So we're faced with three years of tax returns to do, with no records for the first two - there's cash involved and most of the sales were hand-written carbon-books, some emails and some text messages!!! Bank statements obviously will be obtainable as will some purchase history from the trade suppliers, but sales are going to be tricky to estimate with any level of accuracy. Looking at previous years, net profits have been around the 10-15k mark. I'm really just after some Accounting Web advice on where to start? My instinct is to write to HMRC, try to put down as much in order as what happened and tell them that someone is now dealing with it and the returns will get done as soon as its possible to make decent estimates. I've never had to do anything like this before, only dealt with simple tax returns - I want to help him out if I can and try to get some of the penalties to go away if possible - it's an interesting and almost unbelievable set of circumstances, unless you know the guy - he's extremely trusting of people and a complete 'Numerophobe'. Debt Management are chasing him for a tidy sum worth of penalties - I've not seen all the letters yet, stuff is coming through piecemeal, so not sure on a total , but it's four figures.