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You're an accountant, why don't you know that?

24th Feb 2014
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Does anyone else find that non-accountants expect accountants to know everything there is to know about tax – and then are puzzled when we don’t?

Mrs Dragon asked me over early coffee this morning about Chris Moyles’ case.  “What scheme was he using?  Can my son pretend to be a second-hand car dealer and save tax that way?”

I haven’t a clue what scheme would have allowed Chris Moyles to save tax by pretending to be a second-hand car dealer, and told her so.

“You’re an accountant, I’d have thought you would know,” she said, looking at me oddly.

Perhaps I should give her a quick guided tour of HMRC’s website to illustrate why accountants don’t know everything about tax.

I have also recommended to CP and CD that they get a specialist tax adviser in to advise on available tax breaks in the software and games industries.  CD asked me if that wasn’t something I could do – and again, I pointed out that I’m not a tax specialist, and certainly not in that area.

In my own time I enjoy reading books written by doctors and nurses about their careers and their patients, and it’s perhaps not surprising how many of them specialise in different categories of patient (children, elderly, etc) or different diseases or parts of the body.  After all, would you want a gynaecologist to carry out open heart surgery?

Perhaps I should use that analogy next time someone asks me about an obscure tax scheme.

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By tom123
24th Feb 2014 21:08

I know what you mean

I have always worked in industry. Latterly, with the subsidiaries of overseas parents. The profession is often structured differently overseas - so I did find there was more of an assumption about the level of tax a UK financial controller would know.

I decided to study - and finished ATT last year. Even then - it is suprising how much there is to know.

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By majabl
26th Feb 2014 11:47

The medical example is the one I always use: usually, 'you wouldn't want a chiropodist doing brain surgery - or vice versa!'

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