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MTD: Monthly reports may be needed

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Four million taxpayers will need to submit quarterly plus end of period reports for each trade and property business, leading to multiple submissions for different periods under MTD for income tax.

19th Feb 2021
Tax Writer Taxwriter Ltd
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MTD for income tax has now morphed into MTD for income tax self-assessment (ITSA), and HMRC are now referring to the regime as ‘MTD ITSA’.

HMRC estimates there are four million businesses that pay income tax, but who are not VAT registered, so they are not already keeping digital business records. All of these businesses need to enter the MTD ITSA regime from April 2023 (see start dates below).  

What reports are required?

For each trading or property business the taxpayer operates they will have to submit a quarterly report of income and expenses in defined categories. The taxpayer will also have to submit an end of period statement (EOPS) for each of those businesses (the fifth report).

The MTD ITSA regime will incorporate all of the reporting required on the current SA tax return into a ‘finalisation’ or ‘crystallisation’ statement. This statement will bring together all of the information included in the MTD reports, plus other taxable income (such as investment and employment) to calculate the tax liability for the tax year. 

The draft MTD ITSA regulations (see developer hub policy update) indicate that individual landlords must submit separate quarterly updates for each category of property business (eg long term letting, FHL, overseas lettings).

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Replies (210)

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Replying to Tornado:
avatar
By the_fishmonger
24th Feb 2021 09:26

Tornado wrote:

I do, however, know that it is the nature of Government (or is it the Civil Service) to do things the hard way so that they keep their jobs and it is very unlikely indeed that a logical, simpler way to do things will ever get accepted as that would mean the loss of those jobs.

But making things simpler does not need to lead on to job losses. If they actually thought about this, or asked someone outside of their consultantcy bubbles, they'd maybe see a simpler system with more compliance officers (those jobs that would otherwise be 'lost') would be more efficient and better equiped to collect as much tax as possible.

The crux is you aren't going to see this because the lunatics cannot think differently to what they have been indoctrinated in.

Thanks (1)
Replying to the_fishmonger:
Tornado
By Tornado
24th Feb 2021 09:43

Yes, I generally agree with you. This is the argument in another thread about doing away with VAT and having a sales tax which would make perfect sense in that all those HMRC officers checking the correct treatment of VAT as it passes through multiple businesses could specifically allocated to the monitoring of tax collected from the end user.

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Replying to Tornado:
RLI
By lionofludesch
24th Feb 2021 10:03

Tornado wrote:

Yes, I generally agree with you. This is the argument in another thread about doing away with VAT and having a sales tax which would make perfect sense in that all those HMRC officers checking the correct treatment of VAT as it passes through multiple businesses could specifically allocated to the monitoring of tax collected from the end user.

Just as long as business owners don't have to check all their customers to see if they're registered for sales tax. And that retailers can cope with huge liabilities to HMRC.

Sales taxes have their weaknesses, too.

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Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 10:13

Why does HMRC require this data, what are they going to do with it and do they have the capacity to handle it? MTD VAT transmitted the same data that is on the VAT retuns: just the 9 boxes along with business name, VRN and period start and end. But MTD ITSA is transmitting data to HMRC which they don't currently receive. And we all know what happens when HMRC receive new volumes of data. Look at RTI. It started in 2013 and was going to be wonderful because HMRC would spot errors immediately and get them fixed. But even in 2021 HMRC still fail to act on the data received. And we've all had cases where HMRC have made a pig's ear of an employer's account because HMRC have processed the RTI incorrectly. I suspect we and our clients will go through agony to put MTD ITSA in place only for HMRC to be unable to cope with the data and end up just storing it.

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Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 10:21

When auto-enrolment started, the Government quite rightly decided to start with large employers first and phased in AE over several years bringing the smallest employers onboard last of all. This was logical because the large employers would already have HR departments that could handle it. The logic was by the time the smaller employers were mandated, the pensions industry would have products suitable for small employers. It didn't quite work like that.

The time consuming part of MTD is the digitisation of transactions. Large businesses will already digitise their transactions whereas small businesses won't. Software doesn't lend itself to private usages/non-business elements such as private motoring or private phone. Companies don't have mixed business/private expenses - if there is a car it is a BiK or booked to the DCA. But almost all sole traders and partnerships will have these transactions. So from a bookkeeping point of view, software is less able to cope with sole-traders and partnerships compared to limited companies. So why has HMRC decided to start MTD with sole-traders and partnerships? There's no sense to it. I guess it is because big business has the muscle to convince HMRC to leave them alone, so HMRC go for the easy target: Joe the Plumber.

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Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 10:38

If a taxpayer had an SA query, they phone the SA Helpline. If the query is anything other than basic the helpline can't help and they have to be put through to a technician. But if their query is VAT, the technician can't help and they have to phone the VAT helpline. And there's a different helpline for CIS, another for PAYE. If you try to ask someone on the VAT helpline a CIS question, they say they don't know. That's because VAT is so complex they can only be expected to know about VAT, and only fairly basic stuff too. But MTD requires Joe the Plumber to be sufficiently competent at bookkeeping to be able to do his own record keeping, and to know all the relevant rules for SA, CIS, VAT etc. And of course he's still got to run his business, get new business, prepare quotes, schedule his work, buy materials, undertake work to a Gas Safe standard, bill his customers, collect payment, pay his suppliers and 1001 other things. So if HMRC recognise tax is too complex for their own staff to be multi-tax, why does HMRC think Joe the Plumber can handle it and still run his business? It's not as if we're asking the HMRC vat helpline to also install a boiler. And don't say the software can handle it. Take for example Sage which defaults everything to T1 so claims VAT on everything including drawings, insurance, rates etc. If Joe the Plumber used Sage he'd need to know enough about VAT to change the default tax code.

Thanks (4)
Replying to kevinringer:
RLI
By lionofludesch
23rd Feb 2021 10:44

kevinringer wrote:
That's because VAT is so complex they can only be expected to know about VAT, and only fairly basic stuff too.

"Value Added Tax is a simple tax."

© A Barber 1972

Thanks (1)
Replying to lionofludesch:
Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 11:03

I note that comment was made the year before VAT started. I guess VAT was a simple tax when it didn't exist.

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Replying to kevinringer:
RLI
By lionofludesch
23rd Feb 2021 11:07

kevinringer wrote:

I note that comment was made the year before VAT started. I guess VAT was a simple tax when it didn't exist.

Well, it did exist - elsewhere.

Tony Barber said that in the course of his 1972 Budget Speech which introduced the legislation for the Finance Act 1972, which was the primary source of legislation until the VATA 1994.

Thanks (1)
Replying to lionofludesch:
Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 11:18

Maybe VAT was simple, elsewhere. Tony Barber didn't take into account the HMRC-ification of VAT.

Thanks (0)
Replying to kevinringer:
RLI
By lionofludesch
23rd Feb 2021 11:21

kevinringer wrote:

Maybe VAT was simple, elsewhere. Tony Barber didn't take into account the HMRC-ification of VAT.

HMRC didn't exist in 1972.

Thanks (1)
Replying to lionofludesch:
Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 11:55

lionofludesch wrote:

HMRC didn't exist in 1972.

Quite, we had no idea what treats awaited us in years to come.
Thanks (0)
Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 10:40

HMRC had said software would have prompts and nudges for MTD. But MTD VAT has been around for 2 years and still no prompts and nudges. I'm glad of that because for experienced bookkeepers and accountants, prompts and nudges would get in the way and hinder use of the software. But what has happened to them? Why didn't they happen?

Thanks (0)
Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 10:50

The existing software can't even handle what we currently need. Think of the market leaders such as QuickBooks Online, Sage or Xero. Can they automate retail schemes? Or margin schemes? Or partial exemption? Many of my clients also have a buy-to-let so they're partially exempt, but the software doesn't automate this. So what happens? The clients ignore partial exemption and claim the lot. Retails schemes, margin schemes and partial exemption have been around since 1973 yet the software hasn't yet caught up. These schemes involve calculations and therefore are a bigger risk of error than simply recording the input tax listed on an invoice. Yet MTD requires the digitisation of the input tax invoice though it permits the retail scheme calculation to be done manually on the back of an envelope. Why isn't HMRC interested in software handling these error-prone risks? I suspect it is because HMRC has had it's ears tickled by the software industry and has been duped by their sweet talk that there's no need to automate these error-prone areas. That gives the software industry carte-blanche to continue to produce software that doesn't do what it needs to do. If software can't handle these common requirements, what about the far more complex ITSA issues. Let's take farming as an example: farmers' 5-year averaging, herd basis, farmhouse expenses. Will QuickBooks be able to automate these?

Thanks (2)
Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 10:53

I've been been filing 100% digital tax returns since 1998: initially through the ELS system and now FBI. So I have already Made Tax Digital. So why are HMRC calling it Making Tax Digital? It isn't Making Tax Digital at all, it is Making Transactions Digital.

Thanks (2)
Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 11:03

I'm pro-technology. I've been filing 100% digital tax returns since 1998. I switched to 100% online VAT returns when the service was launched about 20 years ago. I switched to 100% digital CT returns years before they became compulsory. I did this because I felt it helps me work more efficiently. I am IT-competent and willing to invest time to fix my problems. That's my choice.

I oppose MTD because I don't see how it will benefit clients. Most small business owners have a good idea how their business is performing, even without looking at the bank statements. I encourage them to use software where this will help their business eg issuing bills, keeping track of who owes them money etc. But if the software doesn't help them, or the stress/hassle of them having to learn/use it is greater than the benefit, then they shouldn't use it.

Thanks (1)
Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 11:04

HMRC have said how wonderful digital records are and how businesses save money and improve efficiency with MTD. If that were true, wouldn't we all have signed up by now? The fact that there's hardly anyone in the pilot (which has been ongoing for 3 years) proves this. If MTD is as wonderful as HMRC say, HMRC should make it optional.

Thanks (1)
Tornado
By Tornado
23rd Feb 2021 12:11

If there is one good thing arising from the pandemic, it is that we can greatly appreciate the pleasures and necessities of 'normal' life, particularly how we like to get together, socialise and generally do lots of exciting things. These will be priorities for most of us and we will enjoy them to the full.

The Government will eventually get the message that people enjoy running businesses and will want to do better when the shackles are taken off and will not have any time to mad ideas like MTD. The Government may threaten fines, penalties and other outrageous sanctions but I don't think many people will care. Why on Earth would they waste their time trying to comply with unnecessary Government rules when the Government have little power to enforce it.

NOW is the time for the Government to seriously step back from telling people how to run their businesses and just stick to their key objectives of administering a simple but effective tax system.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tornado:
neand
By neanderthal
23rd Feb 2021 12:38

dont be so sure about the Government!

Thanks (0)
Chris M
By mr. mischief
23rd Feb 2021 14:14

My solution to this load of drivel remains MTU - making tax up. That way, I can be ready to file for every quarter for every client in April.

Just press the button in July for quarter 1, gone. Repeat in October, etc. You'd ask for tweaks from people who had radically different numbers. And of course you'd err on the side of underpaying tax quarter by quarter, by assuming high capital spends etc.

The perfect low-cost answer to MTD is MTU. By the time the numpties in HMRC find out I will be in comfortable retirement.

Thanks (2)
Replying to mr. mischief:
Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 15:03

Looking at some of the stuff that comes out of HMRC I think they're already operating MTU.

Thanks (1)
Replying to mr. mischief:
avatar
By adjadj
01st Mar 2021 20:55

MTU will be my plan. Namely Extrapolate last year for Q1 and Q2, get correct figures for Q3 and finalise for Q4.

This matches the way I work now. I do little until January except track for exceptional expenditure and that income is on budget; in January I do detailed work and make a 9+3 forecast so can plan pension and other annual expenditure; I then wrap things up in April.

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Replying to mr. mischief:
avatar
By adjadj
01st Mar 2021 20:56

Duplicated post so removed as much as I could

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avatar
By Pam Moreland
23rd Feb 2021 14:31

There is no point to this at all unless it is to accelerate the payment of tax even though HMRC is adamant it is not - yeah right. We aren't stupid.
Who on earth is consulting on this? Do they really think that this is achievable? And how do they propose to tell everyone with a rental or trade income in excess of £10,000 that this is what they expect. If we are lucky, two months before it is due to happen perhaps, just like MTD for VAT. No, they will rely on us in small practice to tell our clients, get them organised, train them on the software and probably file the reports for them. What about the unrepresented tax payer?
If they want tax payments more quickly then just keep the same self assessment system and instigate quarterly or even monthly payments based on the previous years liability. It works for corporation tax. Much quicker and cheaper to administer without the ludicrous spectacle of a load of meaningless reports that no one will look at. As letters go unanswered for months and no one is answering the telephone do they really think anyone will be actually looking at these reports? We always thought that there was a warehouse full of the paper forms 42 we used to file, mouldering away unseen. This looks like more of the same, only digitalised.
A good way to raise money through fines though - just like nil CIS returns, nil ATED returns and nil trust register returns - all of which have to be done (or a penalty will be levied) and are a complete waste of time. I would prefer to do meaningful work than have to charge clients for set up costs, training costs and superfluous filing. And don't forget that software isn't free either.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Pam Moreland:
avatar
By Jo Nokes
23rd Feb 2021 16:35

I see that Rebecca Benneyworth is running a seminar tomorrow morning. I think she is full signed up to the programme, and will be able to explain to us sceptics how we can get all our non IT competent clients to deal with the digitalisation process. I would love to see a dialogue beteween Kevin Rringer and RB, and see who wins on points

Thanks (1)
Replying to Jo Nokes:
Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 16:49

RB is a MTD-convert. She has signed up all her clients to bank feeds and she (and not the client) does all the processing. I can see merit in this for clients on cash accounting and who have internet banking. But only the smallest are on cash accounting, and even with cash accounting there are aspects such as the new domestic reverse charge which can't be cash accounting.

Thanks (0)
Replying to kevinringer:
Morph
By kevinringer
23rd Feb 2021 16:49

I wonder if RB has signed up all her clients into the MTD pilot?

Thanks (1)
avatar
By BryanS1958
24th Feb 2021 09:52

What we really need is for some techie person to set up a petition that also automatically allows the user to send an e-mail to their MP, based on the user's postcode.

I recently signed a petition online re use of pesticides that can kill bees, etc, this allowed me to send an e-mail to my MP at the press of a button, no messing around finding his details, composing an e-mail, etc. I was very impressed.

I was also impressed to receive a lovely e-mail back, which he had obviously worded based on party lines and sent at the press of a button!

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Replying to BryanS1958:
avatar
By Jo Nokes
24th Feb 2021 10:39

Try the website 'they work for you', enter your post code, and see the name of your MP. Then send them a message, it's really simple. Don't hold your breathe for a sensible reply. When I did it, what I received eventually was more like a PR handout from HMRC

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Replying to Jo Nokes:
avatar
By BryanS1958
24th Feb 2021 14:42

Thanks - now all we need is a petition and to build 'they work for you' into the petition so it sends a suitable template to the MP and they can send a suitable party line template back:-)

Thanks (0)
avatar
By BryanS1958
24th Feb 2021 14:58

I've just sent this to my MP via https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

"I am not sure if you are aware of the farcical level of work that HMRC will require of self-employed individuals and small landlords under MTD (Making Tax Digital) - up to 20 detailed returns a year! Complete madness. I thought Tories were supportive of small businesses, but Covid, which leaves many small businesses high and dry, without any income or government support, and MTD seem to prove otherwise.

Here is a link which gives an example and comments from accountants at the coal face:

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/comment/832836#comment-832836

Please can you ensure the views of accountants regarding the complete lack of workability are given to all MPs so that they can make an informed decision as to whether the current MTD plans are workable and sensible. In my view, and the view of many others, they are not."

Thanks (2)
avatar
By BryanS1958
01st Mar 2021 17:25

I wrote to my MP re this MTD farce and received the following reply:

"Thank you for taking the time to get in touch.

I would certainly be pleased to write to the Treasury and request a considered response to your concerns. I will ensure that any reply I receive is shared with you directly.

In the meantime, please let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

Best regards,
David

David Simmonds CBE MP
Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner"

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Replying to BryanS1958:
avatar
By Jo Nokes
01st Mar 2021 22:22

Ha, he’s my MP as well, so that makes two letters he has received. I haven’t had a reply yet

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Replying to BryanS1958:
avatar
By johnjenkins
02nd Mar 2021 09:14

My MP is pretty hands on so I was able to put our points to him. He duly said he would speak to those concerned and the reply was text book "MTD will be phased in as planned". No doubt your reply will be similar. All I can say is watch out at the next election Boris (although labour don't have much to offer), you could take a hit.
I have never understood the reasoning behind quarterly updates (I know why HMRC are doing it). The only reason VAT registered business do quarterly, monthly or yearly returns is purely for VAT not transactions. The two aren't linked.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
David Ross
By davidross
02nd Mar 2021 20:22

Typical useless reply from an MP to make you think he is on your side. He will get a fob-off from the civil servants and pass that on to you. Not unlike "The Queen has asked me to thank you for your interesting letter ..."

I had this with Tobias Ellwood a few years ago so have been down the path already

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avatar
By spuddle
05th Mar 2021 12:51

Response from my MP:

Thank you for your email and for alerting me to the bureaucratic nightmare facing you and other self-employed individuals as a result of the move to MTD.

I have written to the Treasury Minister responsible seeking his comments upon your concerns.

With best wishes,
Chris Chope

Sir Christopher Chope OBE MP
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
01425-541087

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Replying to spuddle:
neand
By neanderthal
05th Mar 2021 13:42

hi,is it possible to share that email so that we alert our MP?

Thanks (0)
Replying to neanderthal:
avatar
By spuddle
06th Mar 2021 14:13

I just used the one a little higher up the thread:

"I've just sent this to my MP via https://www.theyworkforyou.com/"

"I am not sure if you are aware of the farcical level of work that HMRC will require of self-employed individuals and small landlords under MTD (Making Tax Digital) - up to 20 detailed returns a year! Complete madness. I thought Tories were supportive of small businesses, but Covid, which leaves many small businesses high and dry, without any income or government support, and MTD seem to prove otherwise.

Here is a link which gives an example and comments from accountants at the coal face:

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/comment/832836#comment-832836

Please can you ensure the views of accountants regarding the complete lack of workability are given to all MPs so that they can make an informed decision as to whether the current MTD plans are workable and sensible. In my view, and the view of many others, they are not."

Thanks (0)
Replying to spuddle:
David Ross
By davidross
07th Mar 2021 17:22

But it's NOT a farcical amount of work and 20 Returns a year only applies in a made-up example.

In fact, hook your Bank up to a feed and do all your spending on a card, and it is massively EASIER

Thanks (0)
Replying to davidross:
Morph
By kevinringer
08th Mar 2021 07:02

I disagree David. I'll give you an example of one of my landlords. Gross rent £12,000 a year minus agent fees and expenses, paid into landlord's private account. Landlord has a buy-to-let mortgage. The only other expense the landlord pays is property insurance. Currently landlord gives me his 12x agent monthly statements and his 1x mortgage interest statement. It takes me less than half an hour to tot up has agent statements and input the totals into our tax return software along with P60 pay and tax. But with MTD we'd have to digitise all the transactions. And if we had a bank feed that means wading through all those personal transactions. And the bank feed wouldn't handle the agent deductions so each one would have to be manually input (which rather defeats the point of digitisation). I'll have to process far more transactions in one quarter than I currently do annually. And we still have to do the annual tax return, or whatever it is going to be called. So it is going to be a minimum of 5x 30 minutes a year. Currently the client delivers their records sometime between May and July: well before the 31 January deadline. The client is now going to have to deliver within a few days of each quarter end (we only have 30 days to get every client done so we need some clients to start delivering within a few days). He'll struggle to deliver the records within time. And what about the mortgage: it's an annual statement. We're going to have to estimate. And as we all know, it can take more time to calculate an estimate than it takes to process the final figure. In my opinion, all this additional work for MTD for this landlord is farcical. It will take me more than 5x existing amount of time. Will the client appreciate a 5x increase in fees? Will the client agree this is farcical? I don't understand why HMRC is forcing MTD on landlords. I don't see what HMRC are going to gain. And can anyone see anything that the landlord will gain from this?

Thanks (1)
Replying to kevinringer:
blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
08th Mar 2021 07:30

I agree it does seem a bit farcical for this type of client. One thing I would say though is that I do not really agree with your analysis of the extra work as there are ways you could make this much easier.
Firstly, no point at all in using a bank feed, the way I would do this is to use a dummy bank account in the software and find the quickest way of entering in the relevant transactions, either manual entry or CSV, we do this at the moment for clients that have transactions outside of their usual bank account.
For me in your example above this would take very little extra time than you spend at the moment, you can also ask the agent to email monthly statements directly to you.
I agree at this level its all a bit pointless, the obvious benefits to other landlords is a more efficient reporting system and being able to establish a tax liability each quarter.
We have one client for example with 20 properties that insists on handwriting everything in great detail which we then have to convert, every year she gets extremely stressed doing it, it takes her a few days, it is always last minute into us but she consistently refuses to change to a more efficient system because "its the way I have always done it" - we have tried the carrot, she needs the stick approach

Thanks (0)
Replying to davidross:
RLI
By lionofludesch
08th Mar 2021 07:38

davidross wrote:

But it's NOT a farcical amount of work and 20 Returns a year only applies in a made-up example.

In fact, hook your Bank up to a feed and do all your spending on a card, and it is massively EASIER

My bank?

It's the clients you have to convince and that's a much tougher task.

The big issue, of course, is that the £10000 limit is far too low. These aren't viable businesses and don't need the high level of admin.

Thanks (1)
Replying to davidross:
avatar
By North East Accountant
08th Mar 2021 08:39

How's this going to work for a jointly owned property owned by 4 people?

Thanks (0)
Replying to North East Accountant:
RLI
By lionofludesch
08th Mar 2021 09:11

North East Accountant wrote:

How's this going to work for a jointly owned property owned by 4 people?

The lessee will pay a quarter of the rent into each landlord's bank account.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
08th Mar 2021 09:27

lionofludesch wrote:

North East Accountant wrote:

How's this going to work for a jointly owned property owned by 4 people?

The lessee will pay a quarter of the rent into each landlord's bank account.


It is very rare that happens - normally the rent gets paid to one person and they pay it out, but the principle is the same
Either way, it must be even more rare for there to be 4 landlords each earning over 10k in rent, we could all invent ludicrous scenarios to show that MTD is difficult!
Thanks (0)
Replying to NH:
Morph
By kevinringer
08th Mar 2021 09:36

NH, most of our landlords are joint: husband and wife. A few foursomes and occasionally more! One with 13.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
Tornado
By Tornado
08th Mar 2021 09:28

lionofludesch wrote:

North East Accountant wrote:

How's this going to work for a jointly owned property owned by 4 people?

The lessee will pay a quarter of the rent into each landlord's bank account.

Yes, of course why did I not think of that. All bills for the property(ies) can be split four ways as well, easy really.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
avatar
By North East Accountant
08th Mar 2021 10:46

Surely you don't think this will happen in the real world.

And for every mortgage payment under this method each person will have to pay a 1/4 of the total and the same for every expense.

Just not going to happen...

Thanks (2)
Replying to North East Accountant:
RLI
By lionofludesch
08th Mar 2021 10:57

North East Accountant wrote:

Surely you don't think this will happen in the real world.

And for every mortgage payment under this method each person will have to pay a 1/4 of the total and the same for every expense.

Just not going to happen...

It must happen.

Or David Ross's plan won't work.

Thanks (0)
Replying to North East Accountant:
blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
08th Mar 2021 11:06

No of course it does not need to happen , however there does come a point where you might say to a client, look its easier for everyone concerned if you put this through a dedicated bank account.

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