Member Since: 14th Apr 2002
25th Feb 2021
But this is how it will work FOR US. When clients are forced to enable a Bank Feed, they won't be able to withhold their data and make our lives a misery. They also won't be able to invent round sum figures, which is why HMRC will increase the tax take
22nd Feb 2021
When there is a challenge you can see the problems or you can respond to it as an opportunity. For instance Self Assessment ended all the appeals and visits to the Commissioners to beg for more time, introduced order to the tax calculations and enabled us to draw a red line under 31 January and have two months to recuperate and plan.
I'm 64 and 2023 offers the opportunity to properly digitise my practice. At the moment we are running a campaign to sign up all the 'little guys' to NatWest/Mettle and FreeAgent, beginning with the Year ending 31 March 2021 (for whom we will scoop up all transactions since April 2020 via the bank Feed)
Begging clients to assemble their paperwork months after the Tax Year when penalties loom will be a thing of the past and I can delegate what is now called 'categorisation'.
My advice is, stop moaning and get prepared now, using the big stick HMRC is waving to corale the clients. Even if 2023 never happens, you will have created a business that works for you and which has a resale value (something I never thought I had).
And remember, those clients who seem techno-phobic mostly have computers, smart phones, smart TVs etc. Sell the benefits, they adopt when it suits them.
18th Feb 2021
That is really helpful, thank you - as you say, the cost may outweigh the risk being incurred and I like the point that all business involves risk
17th Feb 2021
Surely there is no risk in pointing out that they should try to buy the assets not the company? That leaves most of the liability with the old owners and avoids most of the 'due diligence' that lawyers charge so much for. The lawyers are not going to vote for Christmas and point out the wisdom of such an approach.
If this is not possible you might still get the old owners to drain the pond. We had a similar situation recently and we reduced the purchase price by getting the old owners to take out the retained profits and suffer the personal liability on them. A new legal entity can have a new VAT number etc.
I know I'm a bit off topic but there is a way to win client goodwill without much work/cost by using your own knowledge.
I agree with others that 'forensic accounting' is a special skill. If you've ever seen a bill from a forensic accountant, it is a business worth getting into!
And finally, the client here has chosen to engage lawyers at such a cost that might in itself outweigh the risk they are taking! Why should they not pay an accountant (possibly not you) a similar fat fee for doing part of the solicitor's job?
9th Feb 2021
Taking this a step further, does anyone have recommendations for IHT400 software? I remember that 10 years ago HMRC had an integrated PDF but these days it is all individual forms, which don't function properly on my Mac, and require the same information to be entered over and over again
I'm only looking for something sensible that would prepare the forms for printing. I checked out the list of recognised suppliers on the HMRC site but am not impressed - if only TaxCalc were in this field! They have a clearly publicised pricing structure but in the IHT/Probate business it is all 'fill in this form and we'll pester you to death ..."
5th Feb 2021
I would read the article in full - if I wanted to pay to subscribe to The Times!
From responses already given, it seems that a lot of you already do
2nd Feb 2021
You are correct, if you mean the paper Return. The notes say at TRG1'
"Signing your form and sending it back
Please make sure you sign and date the form yourself. If you forget, we cannot accept it and will have to send it back to you"
But HMRC is falling over itself to digitise and has (as other posters have evidenced) plainly said that it will accept other forms of approval.
This thread started about a rogue agent who did not follow modern procedures and has gone down a rabbit hole about 'wet signatures'
Lest there be any doubt in our clients' minds, the page that Tax Calc asks them to authorise says;
"I understand that when I advise Fair Balance Accounting that I have approved this copy they will be entitled to submit my return (or amended return) information using the Self Assessment Online Service."
So I don't fear problems from them where I can show that they used Accountancy Manager to e-sign.
A different World from the early 2000s when I spent the 31st January gathering signature pages, matching them and posting through the door of the local Tax Office (remember them?) at 1 am !
30th Jan 2021
Well, if 'wet ink' is required then all of us using e-signatures are in for big trouble. But then HMRC itself is anxious to accept digital signatures.
I had a credit card enforced on me by a Court because the Judge said that as I had been paying it, it 'must be a valid contract' and in any case most institutions add facsimiles of the signature of some bloke in the organisation.
There may be no such thing as an implied signature (no -one here has mentioned that term) but I think there is a principle of imputed authority - again, I am not a lawyer but I think that the law of agency is an interesting area.
Besides, this thread now covers three areas;
• downright incompetent and corrupt accountants (some of which are 'qualified')
• what constitutes a valid submission to HMRC;
• what redress a climate may have
29th Jan 2021
I have always taken the view that HMRC would not be interested in the process of approval, and would hold the taxpayer to account for what is in/not in the Return. I think that HMRC would agree with me that any failure in the authorisation process is a civil matter between the agent and the client.
In other words, the agent runs the risk of getting sued by the client, and of course the risk of a complaint to the agent's governing body. Also I agree that if a firm acts rashly, it is imperilling its reputation with HMRC - all they have to do to kill your business is to stop you filing online!
I am very happy that we now have a CRM that organises our approval process and records e-signatures.
But I think that the law of agency may be more nuanced than posters have assumed. If a client of 30 years' standing who is non-digital stands the risk of a fine, am I such a monster if I assume imputed authority to get him over the line? I have such an instance - client trusts me absolutely, but I cannot get him to respond to phone messages or texts. Bearing in mind that he will probably not even read the figures, and that we have another 12 months to file a Repair, why would I let him get a fine because I am being [***] (28 day Covid extension ignored for the purpose of this argument) ?
3rd Dec 2020
FreeAgent with a NatWest or Mettle Account? Free and you can hook up other banks at no cost.
Whilst FreeAgent is not a perfect accounting program the evidence is now there that they are investing the resources to make it so