I guess maybe it depends on the HMRC officer you get, but recently I've appealed a large number of penalties for a couple of clients, for late filing (and in some cases late payment) for multiple years.
Total penalties were several thousand each. Frankly I thought the excuses we had were rather weak - not being aware that a return was due (in this case only requested as they were earning over £100k) and in one instance a house move (which the taxpayer may or may not have informed HMRC in a timely fashion).
I wasn't very hopeful, but it was worth a go for the price of a stamp and a few minutes form filling and much to my surprise both cases were accepted and the penalties reversed.
I wonder if the difference in my cases was that these were PAYE based employees, who had no reason to suspect they ought to file returns (even though one of them may have received some notifications!)
I've had other clients over recent years where I've only acted in a limited capacity and they appealed their own penalties for certain activities and they were also apparently successful on rather shaky grounds for appeal. So although HMRC do seem to like to dig their heels sometimes, it does seem to be worth a go at an initial appeal in most cases.
From not to..
I think it should read that he submitted false invoices from a non-existent consultancy firm and not to it. He submitted them to his employer.
Claims vs accidents
Is that simply due to the number of accountants vs the number of roofers?
I'm pretty sure we are somewhat more numerous.
They did actually look at percentages I believe. What they don't stress particularly though is that this is based on claims and not the number of accidents. Far be it for me to suggest your average white van man roofer might not always submit a claim in line with the proper procedures, but it remains a possibility, however unlikely....
Wrong Marriage Allowance
You are referencing the wrong Marriage allowance.
The figures you've quoted and the page linked is the old "Married Couples Allowance" which is available to couples where at least one partner was born prior to 6th April 1935, an allowance that is slowly becoming one that a lot of us will only see in text books and exams.
The one you meant to reference is the "Marriage Allowance" - which only allows a maximum reduction in tax of £212:
Fair enough. The number of borderline issues caused by the current system is ridiculous. The idea of public funds being wasted on working out if Jaffa cakes are cakes or biscuits, if Pringles are crisps and of course the great ferret census to work out whether they are working animals is insane. Make it a lower rate and apply it to evenly to most things - e.g. all food and clothes and it would be a lot more straightforward.
Zero rated or Exempt....?
Time for change wrote:
To my mind these products were medical items and, therefore, should have been deemed exempt. Some say change takes 10 years!
Would making them exempt necessarily make them much cheaper? If we make the assumption that the entity producing the tampons only sells this one product (so we can ignore partial exemption), then they would not be able to register for VAT, could not reclaim their input VAT and consequently would have higher operating costs, which naturally will be passed on to the consumer.
If this was a change from 20% standard rate to exempt, then yes the non-recoverable input VAT will clearly be less than the output VAT, but going from 5% to exempt may not be quite so clear cut.
If we assume under the current model a product sold for £1.05 (including 5p VAT) costs say £0.90 to produce and sell and the retailer wants the same profit margin in future, then if more than 25% of the business costs would attract non-recoverable VAT the overall cost to the consumer would actually increase!
I understand the current campaign is actually for zero rating, which would be fine and would reduce the cost to the consumer. But in any case it's a pretty small issue in my (admittedly male) opinion. My back of an envelope calculations, using brand name items and no bulk discounts gave an estimate of just £1-2 in VAT per annum, not exactly bank breaking amounts. At least it's relatively easy to understand, unlike confectionary when you have to determine how many blooming chocolate buttons are on your gingerbread man!
Kicking and and screaming into the century of the fruitbat.....
"The Revenue has indicated it will be moving away from Microsoft and towards Google Apps for document sharing and collaboration."
And yet for us agents and "customers" there is still so much that you can't request/communicate by email, or messages sent via a secure portal and must resort to sitting on hold, or sending snail mail...
Deed of variation...
Not my specialist area, but presumably they can easily arrange for a deed of family arrangement or variation, to sort that out if they want to, assuming of course that the value of personal chattels and jointly held property doesn't already solve the issue for them.
It still mystifies me that there are so many estate agents today and that they haven't largely gone the way of the dodo. If you think about what they do I can't think of anything that your average person couldn't do themselves, yet they usually cost far more than the surveyors and solicitors who provide a much more valuable and technically complicated service.
The whole percentage based commission is a bit of a joke too, as it often has no bearing on the actual amount of work involved.
As for viewings - I wouldn't want them to show people around in my absence, in which case I might as well do them myself. Fair enough if you are the other side of the country/abroad etc, but in general this is a service that people often don't want and even don't use.
Then they have their latest wheeze - a rightmove competitor only for traditional bricks and mortar agents with exclusivity terms, presumably setup to stay outside of any regulations regarding cartels....
I can be certain that when I next move I won't be paying an estate agent! (Well possibly a little bit to one of the basic online listing "agents" just to get an advert onto Rightmove, because of course they also require you to be an "agent".....)
Could this story be a ploy to get more people to join AAT?
Figures don't really stack up do they:
"Owing to this skills gap, every small to medium sized business in the UK could have lost an average of £1,277 due to issues such as tax miscalculations, unpaid invoices and fines."
So I can risk losing an average of £1,277 or pay for a qualified bookkeeper then? Even at minimum wage that's less than 4 hours per week and clearly at that level you'd just outsource it as johngroganjga suggests and save yourself the employment complications. If they are saying small businesses should contract the work to suitably competent people (and I say competent no qualified, so as not to re-open that particular debate) then I'm sure we'd agree, but that's not what it says above.
Also the SME definition can cover some fairly sizable and complex businesses, is the AAT not on a sticky wicket here, unless they point out that they themselves may not be competent/qualified to undertake some of the work associated with these businesses?