It has been decided that Teresa and Lucy have enough work to do with tax, without payroll as well. So we are going to recruit someone to be in charge of RTI payroll. His name is Max and he has run his own payroll bureau for a number of years, which he has now sold. He does not want to retire completely, so he is going to come in three days a week to prepare and file RTI payroll for our clients.
"Three days a week? How is that going to work if one of our clients pays their staff on one of the other days?" Teresa emails me after that memo.
"Perhaps he'll come in on different days to accommodate that," I reply.
Teresa's answer had better not be written here.
I ask her if anything was decided about whether to outsource tax returns to Louise again.
"Jack kept the straightforward ones for Lucy and sent the trickiest ones to Louise," Teresa tells me. "So Louise still had the joy of unwinding the Mansworth vs Jelly losses for Mrs Randall and of sorting out Mr Roberts and his offshore trusts. But Lucy somehow managed to prepare all the straightforward ones. I guess Jack told her how important it is to get all the tax returns in on time, now that the £100 fine applies to everyone."
I think back to that year when we had to send letters to all our clients, with a paragraph in bold for those who usually had refunds or sent their information in late, warning them that they would now be fined £100 if their tax return arrived so much as a day late.
"But then HMRC stopped fining sole traders who registered for self-employment late," I recall.
"Yes, it doesn't make much sense," Teresa agrees. "Do they want to encourage people to prepare and file on time, or don't they? And when MTD comes in - well, I don't even want to think about it, Allie. Are our farmer clients going to get their books together in time for that? Just imagine old Fred Paterson using a computer to fill in a form."
"He'll probably tie the keyboard and mouse together with binder twine."
"That's if he hasn't already fed the mouse to one of those awful smelly old cats of his."