* You are viewing the archive for May, 2009

Doing the decent thing

Sometimes in my line of work we have to lift our heads from what we are doing and take a step back. Are we really doing the right thing? Today I was asked to quote for dealing with the accounts and tax return of what purported to be a business. The owner was concerned at the level of fee he was paying his present accountant for the preparation of the annual accounts and tax returns.Having had a look at the work involved, I quoted a fee that was apparently much the same as the amount charged by the … Continue Reading

Has common courtesy had its day?

I try not to make this a whingeing blog. For that reason, if I complain about our dear friends at HM Revenue & Customs, it is the system, bureaucracy and stilted thinking that annoys me, not the staff who have to carry out the wishes of their masters. I cannot recall in recent years ever having had a difficult conversation with a Revenue employee, other than in the rare context that the person was not prepared to strike the best deal I had hoped for concerning a client under enquiry. Certainly there have never been angry exchanges.Having put … Continue Reading

Taxpayers as customers and the service they receive

I, in common with most other taxpayers, resent being called a customer of HM Revenue & Customs, when there really is no choice of supplier. We are captives of the system and we cannot take our business elsewhere. This is an old saw, but if we are customers, we have to ask what we are getting in terms of service; value for what we pay is another matter, and one of a political nature.HMRC, or at least the Inland Revenue as they were called, did once upon a time provide a service to individual taxpayers, prior to Self … Continue Reading

Blearsy-eyed!

We read here that Hazel Blears is to pay £13,332 on the sale of a second home. How is she going to do this? Presumably her accountants or tax advisers got the documentation right so that she successfully avoided a liability by making the appropriate election. The only way she can get HMRC to accept the money is by saying she made an error or worse, deliberately misled them. She will not be happy if they charge interest and penalties in addition to the CGT.Perhaps she thinks the way to pay this voluntary tax is to just … Continue Reading

Property flipping and knee jerk reactions

I must admit that the publicity about some Members of Parliament with two or more residences changing their designated main residence to one they are about to sell has me a little concerned because of all the publicity around it, and because of the public’s ire. The principal residence capital gains exemption is there for good reason, and whilst as with any rule it might be possible to exploit it to one’s advantage, the main purpose of electing as to which is the main residence is actually to prevent hardship or difficulty. Often people acquire a second property through the … Continue Reading

What’s cooking with HMRC, MPs and networking?

It was interesting to meet HMRC representatives at the Essex Branch CIOT/ATT meeting last week, and they seemed a pleasant and friendly bunch. However, of the contingent of six (v attendance of only about 25 members) a couple had come all the way from Yorkshire to Chelmsford. I could not quite see how this was cost-effective.I took the trouble to make notes, but cannot see on re-reading them that I really learned very much. One lady was able to assure us that they were working hard to improve the website, including the deplorable search function (generally it is … Continue Reading