Not sure if this is quite the sort of answer you were hoping for but perhaps my experience may be useful. I am a director of a company which had to spend nearly £1m refurbishing a market hall. Our then Chairman insisted that we must register for VAT so that we could recover the VAT element of the refurbishment costs, even though that meant we had to elect to go into VAT for the licence fees paid by the traders. I can't remember how many years passed before we were eligible to de-register (20?) but when the opportunity arose the board unanimously voted to do so (the chairman had retired by then). I did a back-of-an-envelope guesstimate of what the decision to recover the refurbishment VAT had cost us and it was eye-watering. We would definitely have been better off paying the VAT on the costs. Your client's holiday let conversion can only be let at the market rent. If VAT is charged your clients will lose the amount of the VAT every year. Time to get the envelope out and do a forecast!
There is a market for disks containing obsolete programs because nobody wants to learn a new program (or even the latest version of an old program, eg: Windows 10) if they don't have to and if their favourite program was on a computer that died irrevocably and they didn't bother to keep their original disk, and re-loading doesn't trigger a demand for checking back in with the mothership, they may well pay a good price for a replacement disk. If the program is obsolete who is going to pursue the seller or the buyer for breach of the licence agreement?
May I ask a question? I noticed that 'The tax on the failed PET would be payable by beneficiary' and I've heard that elsewhere, but I can't find it in the legislation. Probably I'm not looking in the right place. What happens if a PET is made, quite a large one (and not a gift out of surplus income), and the beneficiary says "Thanks very much" and spends it without having any reason to think about IHT, and then the donor dies within 7 years? Presumably in 99 cases out of a hundred the estate pays the IHT but what happens if the estate doesn't have the funds? Can HMRC demand the IHT from the beneficiary (who, as explained, doesn't have the money any longer)? What happens if the beneficiary is a foreign national? I really would like to read the primary legislation on this and I simply can't find it.
I think that piece of advice is useless. I assume by "snapshot" you mean a screen print. How can one possibly find the time to screen print multi-page documents where each page typically takes up more than one screen? I suppose one could reduce the browser zoom level down but you'd soon reach the point where the result is pretty much illegible, particularly when printed. Remember, the most important reason for having copies of PDF documents is so that one can prove what was said at a particular time when contentious matters arise. I really do not see how an HTML page can ever be as good from an evidential point of view as a PDF, unless of course you copy the entire source code - no thanks.
As for *magically"-made changes, I'm not worried about those. I am worried about government employees deliberately altering documents to correct mistakes or even change policy in the hope the the changes will just be buried, like bad news. My level of distrust of government has indeed sunk to the point where I wouldn't trust a government employee to tell me the time of day if I thought there was a potential dis-benefit to me if they were to lie. In my constituency we can't even trust our own MP not to lie (I have documentary evidence) or break the law - indeed he was sacked from his ministerial post for the latter reason.
"Just look at it online".... that's such an idiotic remark on so many levels.
PDFs are valuable in contentious matters where one needs an unambiguous record of a document for evidential purposes. I find it quite hard to produce a permanent, complete, verifiable record of an HTML page. A PDF record, both electronic and printed on paper, is the best possible evidence of HMRC's position at a particular date, and it's easy and quick to produce.
But we are all wasting our breath. We are living in an era when the public's views mean absolutely nothing at all to the government and the civil service, who always know best and couldn't really give a stuff what we think. I have given up responding to "consultation" processes which are always designed to get the responses that the organisation commissioning the process wants, and if the "wrong" responses are in the majority the result is just ignored. You may have noticed a particularly glaring and historically significant example of that in the last couple of weeks.
David - many thanks
Accountant A - I thought I had explained the reason when I said: "I think that trying to get them to correct the invoice will be just as difficult as trying to find someone at HMRC who could understand what I am talking about and advise me." Believe me, this organisation is an utter nightmare to deal with. They have nearly finished creating a supply monopoly in their field and they don't care tuppence about keeping customers happy. I don't really care about the money, it's the thought of having to go through their call centre and spend possibly hours on the phone (or send letters or emails which are never answered) that makes me want to just shrug my shoulders and move on. At this point the only thing I care about is the legal position. Obviously if they spot the mistake themselves and re-issue the invoice I'll pay it without demur.
Thanks for a more considered reply than some of the others.
I understand the fundamental point you refer to but it's a legal artefact, not a true and fair view of trading. As you say, the output VAT is not the trader's property, and therefore cannot be included in the trader's accounts. But the reason is that the law says it must be so. And that's the only reason. If the law did not say that then it would be possible to include the sales as a gross figure and account for the net VAT payable to HMRC as a cost to the business. My point is that my ice cream seller, when asked what their takings were on the nice sunny day, will always say £2,000 because in their mind that's what went into the till. And pretty much everyone who isn't an accountant will say the same.
One of the businesses of which I remain a director was established in 1851 and we still have copies of the old accounts, printed by letterpress on large sheets so that the balance sheet could be presented with assets and liabilities in two columns side-by-side. We had a discussion at a board meeting a few years ago when one of the FRSs compelled us to change the presentation of dividends and the consensus was that the nineteenth century accounts were better in some ways than the modern ones. I said to our FD that I hoped that our modern accounts still fulfil the function of presenting a true and fair view of the business and all I got in response was a hollow laugh and a reminder that our shareholders receive a set of management accounts along with the statutory accounts so they can see what actually happened.
I have a friend who is paid by PAYE. When he looks at his payslip he doesn't actually receive his gross pay, somehow the gov have helped themselves to some of it, what a con!
A PAYE payslip shows gross pay, deductions, and net pay.
The fact that payslips are produced in this way supports my argument! The gross pay is equivalent to the gross receipts of my hypothetical ice cream seller, and they are accounted for, not hidden.
I am not impressed by the criticisms of my post. There isn't a single reasoned response which makes any sense. Some of the responses are really quite impolite and therefore, in my view, unprofessional.
I think I do understand how VAT works, and the point I was trying to make is that from the point of view of a small business when a sale is made to a final consumer (who cannot recover VAT as input tax) both the supplier and the customer perceive the transaction as being valued at the price paid. If a VAT registered seller of ice cream sells an ice cream for £2, they have earned £2 and their customer has paid £2. The customer doesn't think that s/he has paid ~£1.67 for the ice cream and 33p in tax, and although the seller is aware at some level that 33p from the sale belongs to the government their gross takings were £2. When they go home at the end of a day after selling 1,000 ice creams (the sun was shining) and their partner asks how much they've taken they don't answer £1,670 plus VAT, they say £2,000. But the accounts don't show sales of £2,000, they only show £1,670, and I don't think that's right.
But that's just me I suppose and I've long ago stopped expecting my view of the world to bear much resemblance to the view presented by accounts.
I have always thought the rule that VAT is omitted from the turnover figure is a fraud by the government abetted by the accountancy profession. A small business with a few hundred thousands of turnover usually works hard to earn every pound, and as far as its customers are concerned every pound they pay is for the goods or services provided. But the hard-won takings of the business are artificially depressed by the omission of VAT from the top line. I have a friend who has worked hard to build his business up to take £250k p.a. last year - but in fact he has managed to take well over £300k - his accounts don't reflect that.