Member Since: 16th Jun 2009
17th Jun 2009
Bear with us!
Just a quick note to let you all know that we're still working hard on this and the new site should be up and running tomorrow (18 June).
It's all that lovely content you lot keep posting that's taking some time to migrate!
We hope to be back online and looking fabulous tomorrow!
17th Jun 2009
Plenty of powers
HMRC can use its usual discovery and enquiry powers if someone accepted a determination that turned out to be too low. If it is too inept to do anything about it for years after the event then that is HMRC's problem & whilst arguably in the long run we all as taxpayers might lose out from some tax not being collected, that is nothing like as draconian as the situation for someone facing a determination of several thousands of pounds they through ignorance, change of address or serious life problems failed to act promptly enough to displace.
I would be interested to know if any lawyers think that article 1 of protocol 1 of the ECHR would help a taxpayer in this situation - particularly one where the amounts involved were very significantly adrift, or whether the reference to taxes in that article totally rules it out.
Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties."
16th Jun 2009
This is little to do with online software and much more about being inline with client’s mentality. We have a firm who started in 2005 (working from home) and is now looking at setting up a second office. They’ve got 200 clients using our “offline” system and working in “real-time” with her clients.
Online software doesn’t keep the books up to date and it doesn’t mean a bank reconciliation will be done.
By the way, better than having a virtual practice is to have a practice set up so you are virtually not required. The problem with most £4m t/o businesses is they often will want to speak to the practice owner, that’s why we only have a simple basic system for micro and small clients.
16th Jun 2009
I've found one of the better ways is not to retain data - at least not on the main systems - that is no longer needed.
Personal information from customer profiling surveys or similar can be moved off to an archive once the statistics are run, and the individual details are no longer required. An archive can have much more limited access, both physically or by network controls, and a firewall will reduce the risk of data theft if someone does get into the main network.
Synergy Connections - Telephone Surveys, Telemarketing and data cleaning
16th Jun 2009
working with agents
Rebecca.........you are making the mistake often made.......you are intellectualising the argument. Reality will be different. Once these people get big sticks they tend to use them indiscriminately. this re-assurance will boil down to the big firms being left alone whilst the smaller ones will take the brunt.......and god help the one man/woman bands. Sure rogue agents need to be driven out of the system, but that could be done NOW without any further legislation. I'm sorry but the touch of this Government is always about big sticks and legislation, they treat no one as responsible human beings and have acted this way, across all fronts for the past ten years. HMRC adopt their tactics....say one thing , do another, so whilst inviting SME's with cash flow problems to phone their special helpline on the one hand, they are putting in Debt Collectors at the same time. Where will intellectualising get you when the real battles begin ! ...humph! Viv O
16th Jun 2009
I fully support Keith's crusade to keep Equitable Liability.
I have recently concluded a case where a subcontractor, through frequent house moves, had not received any tax returns from HMRC during self-assessment. As he had tax deducted under the CIS scheme, he did'nt realise he had to complete returns.
HMRC raised determinations from 1996-97 to 2005-06 which, with interest and penalties, exceeded £10,000. I prepared returns for all these years (plus later ones) showing an approximate break-even, but the local office refused to budge.
The case was referred to Enforcement in Worthing who were very helpful, and I eventually obtained a repayment of around £500. Client was delighted!
For unrepresented taxpayers, this concession is so vital and I agree that every effort is needed to persuade HMRC to retract their abolition proposals.
15th Jun 2009
John – you have no experience of networking which sort of explains your comments but not why you’re making them. Has someone told you to links back to your Website for SEO reasons so you looking for an excuse?
Good networking is about helping others and like all marking it’s about pulling as well as pushing – you can hear that in the language too.
Measuring ROI – work out the lifetime value of a client and the cost (money and time) and then you’ll get the ROI. Some marketing is more reliable than others and that’s why it’s a good idea to have multiple tactics going at the same time.
15th Jun 2009
The withdrawal of equitable liability would be a disgrace
You have requested a brief summary of the circumstances in which the application of equitable liability has been of value.
I can recall at least two occasions on which I have successfully requested that equitable liability should be applied. You will probably not be surprised to hear that on each occasion my application was made to the HMRC Enforcement and Insolvency section in Worthing, who were entirely supportive and willing to assist. Indeed, I am certain that on one occasion it was the debt manager responsible for the case at Worthing who suggested that I should make an application on my client's behalf and assured me that it would be treated sympathetically (which it was).
On the first occasion recalled by me the taxpayer had failed to appeal against an estimated assessment for 1991/92 and was refused leave to make a late appeal by the General Commissioners. The estimated assessment was excessive and, after fairly brief and straightforward correspondence with Worthing during the latter half of 1994, equitable liability was applied, the tax liability being reduced to the amount shown by the taxpayer's accounts and related tax computations.
The second case occurred in 2004 and related to a client who had received a Statutory Demand. Most of the liabilities shown thereon arose from determinations made by HMRC in the absence of SA Tax Returns, including that for 1996/97 (the "final" filing deadline for which had already passed on 31 January 2003). I assisted my client with the preparation and submission of all in-date Tax Returns and then corresponded on his behalf in connection with the application of equitable liability for 1996/97. As it happened, my client did not even have any records for that year, but the Enforcement Office were more than willing to apply discretion and common sense, accepting my suggestion that he be assessed on an amount arrived at by averaging the profits for the adjoining years.
In my opinion both the clients to whom I refer were deserving cases, each having extenuating circumstances, which explained their failure to attend to their taxation affairs on a timely basis. Each of them would have been significantly disadvantaged had equitable liability not been applied.
I very much hope that these examples are of interest and benefit.
15th Jun 2009
I don't quite understand why it is suggested that equitable liability is a necessary or appropriate route to challenge a determination that has not been raised "to the best of his information and belief" as required by s.28C(1A). Could you not have the entire determination thrown out, even if equitable liability is withdrawn?
15th Jun 2009
I think we have to be a little careful about definitions. My comment was primarily aimed at "networking events" where (I understand) everyone is trying to push their wares. I must admit I have never been to one so this is based on comments by other people. We have a couple of clients who have tried joining networking clubs with very little success.
Realistically we are networking all the time by talking to people in social situations, but we don't push and it is part of our normal social/business life. We've just picked up three new clients through a member of staff's connection to a local children's football team and I was at a dance a couple of weeks ago when someone approached me and said, "I understand you're an accountant, we've been discussing something - can you help?" I know that if I started being more forceful, everyone would be turned off.
It's difficult to measure the ROI. The member of staff was taking her children to the football matches/training in any case. We had a good time at the dance - cost me about £30 for tickets plus drinks - and we would have gone in any case.
This laid back approach definitely isn't predictable; we can go for weeks without receiving an enquiry, then receive several in the space of a few days. I'm sure it also works better in a rural area; it almost certainly wouldn't work in a city environment.