I'm a partner with Burton Sweet, chartered accountants & business advisers, and run the Shepton Mallet office down in beautiful Somerset. Despite the name, Shepton Mallet is actually the home of Glastonbury Festival! I trained in audit and corporate tax with Grant Thornton and came to my current position in 1991 via small local practices and a stint with a training consortium.
I have the distinction of being one of the original members of the AccountingWEB editorial team, having been a freelance writer here for a year or so before John Stockdyk joined!
Useful discussion on medical expenses at https://www.taxation.co.uk/articles/2008/08/07/6660/medical-expenses including all the relevant cases on this area.
Who knows? is the short answer, but I know of accountants who have done this themselves and have never had any come-back from HMRC.
Artificially splitting 2 sole trades (eg husband & wife) or 1 sole trade+1 partnership are more easily shot down by HMRC. I think 2 companies is a harder target, but they remain a risk unless there's a very clear separation of the two operations.
Stick to the law
I'm not entirely convinced by any of these arguments. Would any of the respondents like to quote references to the taxes act that back up their argument? I think we all have a vague idea of the issues here, but at the end of the day tax is law, and it's what he law says that counts (and not necessarily HMRC's interpretation of the law either).
For my part I would probably have treated all these expenses as allowable CPD, there's a very fine line between updating old knowledge and acquiring new -after all, if you knew it already why would you go on the course?
It's a similar argument to the capital vs repairs issue - clearly the asset will be better after the repair than it was before, but that doesn't make the expenditure capital.
Surprised HMRC haven't spotted it
I had a client who registered for Flat Rate VAT in mid-2013 but didn't tell us. We submitted 2 or 3 three returns I think and then has HMRC write to query them. We had to provide Flat Rate calculations from Day 1 and the client had to pay an assessment because they had zero rated sales which became liable to Flat Rate VAT, while losing all the Input Tax claims.
I got the impression HMRC's software would generate an alert for their staff to follow up if you put figures in the Inputs and Input Tax boxes while registered for the Flat Rate. The fact that they haven't might indicate that they took your client off the scheme, but that doesn't seem to be normal practice in my experience.
I hope we're not going all EU
Let's hope this is some isolated aberration. On the continent the custom is to use a dot as the thousands separator and a comma as the decimal point. Heaven forbid we go down that route!
Been there, joined most of them
... and got a lot out of them. Yes, AVN is expensive, but then they provide an awful lot of software tools, training, support and consultancy. You have to commit to using them or you'll just be wasting your money, but members who embrace it all do seem to get a lot out of them.
2020 is a cheaper option, get you some basic software plus fee or reduced price training and conferences. But again, if you never use any of their services it's going to look like poor value for money, whatever it costs!
Both 2020 and AVN offer free or cheap events you can visit as a non-member so you can size them up, I suggest you check out their websites and try them.
Worth a go
No so sure, Phil. It sounds like an industrial injury which arose in the carrying out of his duties for his employer. There's no obvious duality as there was in Prince v Mapp  46TC169 so I can't see why the company shouldn't pay for the treatment as a business expense, with no benefit in kind to the director.
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/eimanual/EIM32870.htm offers a glimmer of hope I think, it's worth exploring.
Thanks for that clarification, I too was concerned about having dozens of payrolls with just under LEL employees. Let's beware to HMRC trying to muddy the water on this. I come across the same with other HMRC online filing, especially CT. Just because I could file a nil CT return doesn't mean I should! These online systems are only a mechanism to satisfy the existing regulations, they don't extend them.
VAT Cash Accounting
In my experience only Sage has the controls you need to properly handle VAT cash accounting - if that's likely to be an issue for you. QuickBooks may be able to do it, but it seems clients can easily by-pass whatever the controls are.
And why did Intuit think it was a good idea to allow QB users to turn off the audit trail?
Must get hold of this book, he sounds fascinating!