Editorial team AccountingWEB.co.uk
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AccountingWEB quotes of the year 2021

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Looking back at a turbulent year shaped by Covid-19 and a sequence of regulatory changes, AccountingWEB presents its review 2021 in the words of our writers and members.

29th Dec 2021
Editorial team AccountingWEB.co.uk
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January

“Usually worn out by the end of Jan. This year started worn out and getting worse.” AccountingWEB member Mark Peters shares his self assessment stress with Any Answers Live viewers in mid-January.

* * *

“If you are competent enough to run a business, handle detail under pressure and understand how regulations affect peoples' lives, why would you quarter your income to become an MP?” Rebecca Cave’s answer to the post examining the performance of the profession’s representatives in government, Have accountants blown their ministerial chances?   

* * *

“This was the outcome I was hoping for. Not to 31st March as I would have preferred, but this is certainly enough to be very helpful for us… Still, it would have been nice to know this beforehand as I could have actually enjoyed my Christmas rather than working through.” A phlegmatic response from Michael Beaver to HMRC’s decision six days before deadline day to waive late filing penalties for SA returns until 28 February.

February

“It is [not] right to describe those people as excluded.” Chancellor Rishi Sunak dismissed claims that 3m self-employed workers have been excluded from government support, saying that the figure is “not a number I recognise”.

* * *

“These webinars with Rebecca are so amazing. You actually understand what most of us are dealing with.” Luke Luke enjoys the sense of fellow-feeling in Rebecca Benneyworth’s Getting your clients onboard for MTD webinar

March

Tax editor Rebecca Cave on Budget announcement of tapered furlough grant tax rates for July-September 2021.

* * *

“We now have B for Budget day, L for legislation day and T for tax day - we now have a BLT.” Tax commentator and Office of Tax Simplification board member Paul Aplin takes a culinary approach in his AccountingWEB Live spring Budget analysis webinar.

* * *

“Richard Hattersley - the Des Lynham of accountancy.”  Pre-podcast quip from our fearless leader.

April

“The introduction of IR35 reform is a historic moment. It marks the culmination of years of the government chipping away at contractors, who have shown tremendous resilience and a determination to continue working this way. But while reform poses challenges to contractors and the businesses who rely on them, I am confident that contracting will survive.” Qdos CEO Seb Maley is confident that IR35 reforms for the private sector do not mean the end of contracting.

* * *

“Does the fact that it does not look or sound like a duck mean that it is still somehow a duck?” Snickersinatwix seeks advice about an IR35 client whose new umbrella company wants them to buy shares in a networking company to get a share of profits equivalent to their outstanding contracting fee. 

* * *

“Please watch your tone! It was your choice to do my accounts early, the information you have requested is not needed for a few months… Do you think I enjoy you chasing me when I’m busy, it’s a nuisance? I’ve always been fair with you, I am just extremely busy at the moment - so doing my expenses are low on my priority list.” The constant battle to extract information from clients came to a head for one practitioner in April after receiving this email from a client. Follow the whole sorry saga in I sacked a client - What now?

May

“Probably the tip of a very large iceberg.” AccountingWEB member ds reacts to news that HMRC officers had arrested a couple on suspicion of fraudulently overclaiming more than £3m in coronavirus job retention scheme grants (and another £3m in related tax frauds).

* * *

“In the most high profile case in the history of the IR35 legislation, former footballer and sports broadcaster Gary Lineker has been pursued by HMRC over £4.9m in unpaid income tax and NIC.” Richard Hattersley reports on the Match of the Day presenter’s ongoing appeal against HMRC’s assessment that the engagement fell within IR35. Keep an eye on the Upper Tribunal fixture list to see when the two rivals go up against each other in court. 

* * *

“The whole 30-day regime is a disaster… Not one of my clients has [authorised us as an agent] successfully so in every case I’ve had to phone HMRC (45+ minutes in the queue) and obtain a PPDCGT [paper CGT property report form]. This is crazy because, like most agents, I’ve been 100% digital for decades and I can submit a digital SA tax return without having a 64-8 in place. And a 64-8 covers SA, which includes CGT. So why did HMRC make this tiny part of CGT subject to a different authorisation? In normal times we could ask clients into the office and go through the authorisation process with them. But we were in lockdown when 30-day CGT started. Why start a major reporting regime change just days into the UK’s first national lockdown?” AccountingWEB member kevinringer takes down the new CGT property reporting process in what fellow member carnmores called “the best answer/critique that I have ever seen” in 22 years on AccountingWEB.

June

“Everyone has to have an MTD for income tax [accounting software] product. If they don’t, they won’t be in the game.” Charlie Carne on how the bookkeeping platforms are responding to the need for income tax compliance solutions for MTD.

* * *

“Neither of us was sure whether we were going to spectate or join in. We watched the end of the parade pass us by and then tagged onto the end. But my daughter was soon racing into the middle of the crowd as if she had finally found her place. Her people. Me? I just wanted to offer sun cream to the scantily clad lad walking alongside me and to offer a hug to somebody on the other side describing their transition as bad as a second puberty.” Della Hudson recounts her experiences of parading the streets with the LGBT+ community in Do we still need Pride? 

* * *

“Would checking one’s eyesight and fitness to drive be business or personal?” AccountingWEB member frankfx resurrects the ghost of Dominic Cummings and his outing to Barnard Castle in a discussion on first year allowances for an electric car bought on 31 March.

July

“I was offered the golden excuse – I almost died. I had the perfect out. A moment where I imagine many other people would jack it all in, up sticks and live on a tropical island (alright, that does also sound pretty appealing). But I didn’t. I chose to keep doing what I do. I wanted to do it.” Lucy Cohen recounts how a near-death experience prompted a reflection of where she was in her career.

* * *

“Pushing ahead with major, complex projects, like Making Tax Digital, whilst failing to ensure that basic tax administration works properly for everyone who has to engage with it, is unacceptable and will not deliver what the Government or taxpayers need.” A stinging assessment of HMRC’s 10-year strategy to revamp tax administration from the ICAS Tomorrow’s Tax Administration report.

* * *

“I sincerely hope that this guidance is clarified in the near future, as currently, it includes so many misleading and confusing statements that even the most diligent and honest of taxpayers will have difficulty in following the instructions.” Remember the SEISS 5 grant application rules on turnover? Rebecca Cave certainly does and close to 40 AccountingWEB members voiced similar woes.

August

“This really is a case of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’... The fact that the DWP can’t correctly apply the IR35 legislation in a number of cases confirms the complexity of this onerous legislation and the difficulty that many organisations have in assessing whether a freelance contractor is genuinely self-employed.” Describing the situation where HMRC suspended penalties for the pension department’s inability to apply IR35 rules correctly as “as straight out of a George Orwell novel”, Blick Rothenberg director Robert Salter urged the government to simplify tax for the self-employed.

* * *

“The way HMRC dealt with these grants fails me. Why did they just not tax them as trading income and save us all a lot of hassle (including themselves)?” AccountingWEB GHarr497688 wonders why the Treasury wonks failed to ask themselves this simple question when pondering the taxation of SEISS grants.

* * *

“This is going to take a wrecking ball to the entire profession and the taxpaying public. We are sleepwalking into an almighty mess and nobody is doing anything about it.” AccountingWEB member Jon_Griffey lays into MTD for income tax in an Any Answers post entitled, The worm that turned. The post attracted more than 250 comments from irate accountants. “What are we supposed to do? Quadruple our fees?  Quadruple our staff?... Sack 75% of our clients? Who else would even have capacity to take them on?”

September

“MTD is supposed to reduce the tax lost from these behaviours and bring in hundreds of millions of pounds of additional revenue. So far there is no clear sign that this is happening….MTD is unlikely to reduce the amount of taxpayer error and may even in some situations be increasing it.” John Barnett, Chair of CIOT’s technical policy and oversight committee, isn’t convinced that MTD will close the tax gap

* * *

“I suspect there will be a huge sigh of relief from all who are going to be affected by MTD ITSA. It is far more important to deliver MTD effectively than to deliver it fast.” Paul Aplin was relieved by the delay to MTD ITSA but encouraged readers to use the time wisely. “In short, we have a very welcome breathing space – but we need to start using it straight away.”

* * *

Corporate tax: You are not a loan Candidate for headline of the year for a report from Andy Keates on a tribunal case that turned on an inter-company loan relationship.

October

“Nothing takes just six minutes. It can take that long to locate and open the files and read up any comments from a client. That is before we start to look at numbers and before we start to ask for clarification of numbers. HMRC is making the case for MTD by pedalling untruths.” AccountingWEB member Donald MacKenzie questions the conclusions of HMRC’s policy documents on what MTD ITSA will cost.

* * *

“I was disappointed to see more stories in the media today with apparently very well-briefed information about what will be in tomorrow's Budget. This House will not be taken for granted, it’s not right for everybody to be briefed, it’s not more important to go on the news in the morning, it’s more important to come here.” Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle blasts Rishi Sunak over pre-Budget leaks to the press

* * *

“The amount of pre-budget leaks, which presumably are deliberate, means the traditional Budget where the Chancellor would reveal their tax rates, cuts, increases is gone; no surprises, as already in the public domain… Now the Budget is a one-hour speech saying how wonderful the Chancellor/government are, more a party political broadcast than setting a vision of what the future holds,” VAT expert Jason Croke offers an accountant’s analysis of how Rishi Sunak’s smoke and mirrors approach is draining the Budget of technical significance.

* * *

November

“Let’s take two things which we want to happen and say they’re linked regardless of the fact that it is very possible to have one without the other… This isn’t so much a case of tail wagging dog as of my dog’s tail wagging the dog down the street’s tail.” AccountingWEB member adam.arca offers a canine analogy to explain HMRC’s stance on the relationship of basis period reform proposals to the introduction of MTD ITSA in 2024.

* * *

“Where have all the accountants gone? We have had half a dozen new client contacts in the last month that have been turned away from other firms. Apparently, there are firms in our area who just aren't taking on new clients as they don’t have the capacity.” In an Any Answers post on disappearing accountants, CW2012 starts a lengthy debate on the pandemic’s impact on small firms.

* * *

“The length of time working for one client has nothing to do with employment status. Firstly it is up to the work giver and work doer to decide employment status. Once that has been established you follow the rules carefully so that any challenge by HMRC can be met. As much as HMRC want every one-man band on PAYE, there is no law that determines employment status.” Responding to the £280,000 IR35 Paradise lost tribunal verdict involving SkyTV’s Dave Clark, johnjenkins questions the judge’s stance that devoting 50% of his time at Sky made Clark an employee.

December

* * *

“There is plentiful reward for the accountancy profession and for businesses if we get this right. I am committed to ensuring we do get this right and with you we will move on this journey together.” After AccountingWEB readers railed against MTD ITSA,  MTD director Giles McCallum had his say at AccountingWEB Live Expo. 

* * *

“In the spirit of the season can we just all take a moment to appreciate the value which this forum has for us as small practitioners… Special thanks to all those who have contributed throughout the year and continue to do so, sharing their knowledge freely for those of us who are still sitting at the back of the class. And it has to be said that although we may disagree with some views of the staff and contributing journalists, the quality of the articles is outstanding.” Tax Teddy cuts through the cynicism and occasional sniping to bring a little seasonal goodwill to the Any Answers community and gladden the hearts of Aweb staffers. Many thanks Ted, and happy holidays to you too! Normal service will now be resumed...

Did our selection miss any essential quips or stand-out stories from the thousands of items posted on AccountingWEB during the year? Share your favourites too by commenting below!

Replies (8)

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avatar
By Paul Crowley
29th Dec 2021 20:28

“There is plentiful reward for the accountancy profession and for businesses if we get this right. I am committed to ensuring we do get this right and with you we will move on this journey together.” After AccountingWEB readers railed against MTD ITSA, MTD director Giles McCallum had his say at AccountingWEB Live Expo.

A serious quote of the year?
Giles thinks he is creating wealth for accountants at the rate of £6 per quarter

Thanks (4)
Replying to Paul Crowley:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
30th Dec 2021 16:51

I was more worried by the implication that he believes accountants can be bribed into silence on this one. Talk about misjudging the mood and the reality of accounting practices, fee pressures and clients attitudes to paying for "busy work".

He fails to understand the only thing client want to pay for is working out how much tax they owe, and to not deal with HMRC.

Thanks (3)
avatar
By Paul Crowley
29th Dec 2021 20:31

April
“The introduction of IR35 reform is a historic moment. It marks the culmination of years of the government chipping away at contractors, who have shown tremendous resilience and a determination to continue working this way. But while reform poses challenges to contractors and the businesses who rely on them, I am confident that contracting will survive.” Qdos CEO Seb Maley is

"confident that IR35 reforms for the private sector do not the end of contracting."
Maybe needs a tidy up

Thanks (0)
avatar
By johnjenkins
30th Dec 2021 11:05

Just like to thank the Editorial team for giving me a mention. That's two years in a row. Do we get some sort of excellence award for 3 in a row?

Thanks (2)
Replying to johnjenkins:
avatar
By Paul Crowley
30th Dec 2021 11:27

Reward 1
Your posting opportunities are not restricted, they are continuous
Reward 2
Your postings remain intact
Reward 3
PMs from the team only ever look for your opinions or experiences

Thanks (0)
Replying to johnjenkins:
By Michael Beaver
05th Jan 2022 10:14

Me, too (I think!). I'll have to think of clever things to post in 2022, all whilst keeping one eye on the exit door.

Thanks (0)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
30th Dec 2021 16:48

How about Giles ghosting everyone with respect to his quite serious invitation to come to see how tax returns are actually prepared for small clients and landlords?

One day trip could literally save the economy hundreds of millions of pounds per year if those at the top actually saw what we do and how the underlying data for a tax return is quickly and accurately prepared for a landlord or a small consultancy on an annual basis without (shock horror) expensive software.

Or how about the backing down on the 30 day report and pay and extending to 60 days as an admission of an early failure of "the easy bit" of MTD due to the botched HMRC systems and lack of basic integration to the tax return?

My personal highlight away from Aweb was the chap from complaints who rung up about the complaint we made about the complaint about our early complaint about the two earlier letters and several phone calls they had ignored. And then 20 minutes rung up again, about an identical complaint about a similar matter having assured me the first instance was a one off, and my stating this was 'normal business' for HMRC. It about sums HMRC up - a few decent people fighting an enormous mess of their own making.

Thanks (4)
Anthony Constantinou
By anthonyconstantinou
01st Jan 2022 18:40

The best one “It is [not] right to describe those people as excluded.” Chancellor Rishi Sunak dismissed claims that 3m self-employed workers have been excluded from government support, saying that the figure is “not a number I recognise”.

Thanks (0)