Member Since: 18th Jan 2005
24th Apr 2020
We’re having to apply for filing extensions for company accounts to create the time to do everything.
VAT deadlines aren’t shifting nor are PAYE RTI deadlines.
New work which didn’t exist a few weeks ago
CBILS applications, CJRS claims, helping clients make applications for grants, coaching clients (I’ve become a counsellor to SO many), regular circular emails, created a YouTube channel, 23 April deadline for late 2019 return instructors
....and I had a suspected case of the virus which wiped me out for 17 days not helped because I’d been working 14 hour days the weeks before and have been since (including ‘weekends’).
On a serious note remember to look after yourselves because if you do catch it then it’s not fun! My 47 year old brother in law was in a critical condition for two weeks and had no pre existing conditions!
Let’s just hope that the self employed system is a bit more automatic - I’m not convinced though - there’s the issue of whether they’ve traded in 19/20 and 20/21 - will be boxes to tick and so many clients use accountants as they don’t want any interaction with HMRC - I sense another instructional YouTube video in a few weeks.
This is making January feel like a summer holiday (remember those?)
27th Feb 2020
I am constantly surprised why PSC's don't insist on paying their own expenses and just roll it in as part of the fee. Clearly HMRC recognise it as a factor as it is in the updated CEST tool and, based on test results I have seen, clearly can be a swaying factor. Had he paid his own transport costs to outside broadcasts, hotel/subsistence etc then, whilst it might have been a small point, it would have been a clear difference between how an employee would act. Submitting expense claims over and above a fee is, in my opinion, a bad idea for any PSC. If you want to be taxed like a business make sure you act like a business.
6th Dec 2019
There's one big issue for small businesses and that is whether people can actually afford to pay higher taxes.
Call it personal greed if you like but people/businesses adapt their lives to their incomes, especially when the rules have been in place for such a long period of time.
I don't see many clients with huge surplus incomes which means that higher tax rates will mean far more small businesses struggling, less investment, redundancies, small companies folding and, as a result, probably a lower tax take from the sector. At the end of the day you can give someone a big bill and, short-term, that will make your figures look good but a debtors list (whether you are in business or the government) won't pay the wages at the end of the month!
Let's face it, less money in your pocket means less money to spend, that then effects the businesses you would buy from so they then suffer and suddenly you are in a downward spiral as profits fall and so too do tax takes - albeit for many the tax bill will be the last thing they pay........
Any changes would have to be introduced very gradually - the plans of Labour and the Lib Dems are asking for trouble.
Small businesses need a carrot and not a stick - the healthiest way to higher tax income for the government is higher incomes/profits for everyone. Sure, bring in a 1% or 2% rise which can be adapted to but these proposals for dividends are atomic considering how many businesses were encouraged to incorporate under Labour.
5th Dec 2019
The cracks are perhaps beginning to show?
I'm dealing with a BBC IR35 case at the moment and it's astonishing that HMRC are continuing to push.
The client operates totally independently with his own studios and circa £100k plus of equipment and employees and yet the latest communication from HMRC was a list of about 70 questions!
Seems in many cases they have just scooped everyone into one net and are just issuing blanket requests for information.
27th Nov 2019
Interesting to note on the updated tool some points about expenses.
In particular regarding vehicle expenses. I had a case a few years ago where they challenged a building firm on the basis that some of their sub-contractors should be on PAYE. They had their own vehicles that they paid expenses on but HMRC argued it was only for commuting. The argument was won on the basis that they had to bring their vehicles because at times the main contractor could require them to go and get material etc (not necessarily paid for by the sub-contractor) and, if they did not have their own vehicles, then he could find his sites grinding to a halt. Even occasional business use (on the understanding that could arise on any day at any time) won.
Key seems to be for expenses overall that, no matter what the role, don't claim them back from the end client and, instead, incorporate it in the fee charged in the same way that any business does when calculating their fee. Putting in physical expense claims, separate to an invoice for fees, is a lose-lose.
I ran the CEST tool and, the funding of costs seems to win many times as working on a business to business basis such that a contractor funding work travel, subsistence themselves should also be ok. Certainly such a contract term is surely only going to help as the end client then running CEST will be ticking that, clearly highly important, box.
6th Sep 2019
The Office of Tax Simplification..... suggesting that perhaps anyone paying a self employed person should deduct tax and then report it to HMRC and pay it across so that the individual that suffered it can claim it as an offset against their tax later.
It's a roadmap towards MTD for Self Assessment with more regular submissions - probably starting with VAT registered businesses who already have the data at hand (if they have any idea what they, or for those unrepresented using a brain reading software package, are actually declaring)
Call me Mystic Meg.....
Perhaps a better idea would be to offer a system where you can pay your taxes up front voluntarily as you go in advance of payment deadlines and actually get some kind of decent interest rate in return! Carrot and not stick.
30th Jul 2019
The problem isn't MTD etc etc it's just that when you're a sole practitioner you can get in such a habit of taking on work, and having more tasks put on you, that eventually you hit the wall.
The key skill as a start up sole practitioner is learning to say "no" or, alternatively learning to delegate to others e.g. get a freelance bookkeeper on board to help - the literal cry for help if you like!
Best overall advice in my opinion is to get yourself someone you can talk to.
That might be a fellow practitioner, a good friend, a counsellor (or if you prefer then call them a coach!).
When we talk often the problems that can feel paralysing don't seem too bad and you start to see the wood for the trees.
The strongest person is the one who admits to themselves or others that they are feeling weak.
29th Jul 2019
There are no links to click on with the DD email.
The only links to click on are where we have had to update clients email addresses (as under MTD they do now get a useful email confirming that the DD will be claimed) and it is the email update which does then send a message to them which they need to click on to confirm that the address is correct.
It does not affect the DD though.
I can say this with relative confidence as we as a practice went on board one quarter early and our DD went out fine.
12th Jun 2019
Let's be honest, in this day and age if you were designing a system from scratch then you would be inputting information once to the "powers that be" when a company is formed and from then on only reporting changes as they arose. Those changes would be reported via a one stop shop and then fed into the different bodies automatically.
If they can move towards that then, in fairness, it will make our lives easier for once.
In regard to reporting anomalies well, from my perspective, that's not anything new as I consider that our duty under AML already? If I knew a director's details were not right there is no way I'm going to present a false confirmation statement to a client for approval for submission or agree to incorporate a company without seeing ID documents.
As for registered office permissions then, fair enough, as in theory we could then rescind that easily in the future if a client went on the missing list leaving us hosting the company address.
What makes me laugh at the sheer incompetence of Government though is that in a world of GDPR and AML that it is only now that someone has woken up to the fact that they are publishing people's signatures for the world to see. But it's one rule for us..........
31st May 2019
As a practice our preferred model is to tell clients from the start that they are not accountants and that if they want to try but then fail they will have to pay for us to fix it. I compare it to being given a pile of bricks, sand etc building a wall myself and getting the builder to "finish it"....... they soon understand the potential time issues.
The challenge with MTD is getting the clients who did their VAT returns on the back of an envelope with poor record keeping standards that they have to change.
My view is simple, if the client is capable then we get them onboard with cloud software doing what they can do well (from 10% - 100%), if that just means entering the sales invoices and matching it to payments received then so be it. Then let us review/finalise each quarter. Most of our clients accept they are not accountants and let us take over the majority of tasks.
Our jobs are hard enough - the idea of having to deal with bodged up software records 24-7 from clients is not on my list of MTD benefits.
Actual MTD benefits are to keep our clients up to date with better and improved accounting info and actually exercising our skill sets.
HMRC's MTD benefits will be to rake in the profits from those not understanding what they are doing and making an absolute **** ** of it.