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A week of curiosities and a valuable reminder

It has been a strange week. On Monday I went to see a client to collect his tax papers, only to find that they were in a locked cabinet to which only his wife had the key, and she was out. It was a short meeting as a result, and I did wonder why my client had not telephoned to save me the journey.Two less eventful days ensued, and I went to my monthly local meeting of tax practitioners on Thursday. “Tell me, everyone” I said, “what do you guys do in the way of marketing?” Six … 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

Online issues and January procrastinators

I do not normally use the HMRC online software to do Tax Returns as third party is much less hassle. However, I did have occasion to try it recently and found that in dealing with lettings where there is a loss in the year and a loss brought forward the HMRC system is unable to aggregate them and carry them forward. When I telephoned the helpline and finally got through I was told it was a known issue and I should make a diary note of losses brought forward for 2008-09. I would have thought that this loss … Continue Reading

Ulterior motives and deadline woes

Well, the deadline for submitting paper tax returns for 2007-08 has passed with Halloween, and with it the Government’s trick or treat. The trouble is that this messing around with deadlines really is a trick. We have until 31st January 2009 to submit Self Assessment Returns online, and the real reason for the earlier deadline for submitting paper ones is to force online submission to save costs. HM Revenue & Customs probably hoped that people would not get their acts and papers together by the end of October, and would be forced to investigate the online process, either doing it … Continue Reading

Tax Returns and Crimewatch

People in my business have been wrestling with a problem outside our control for the last couple of months, and that relates to Tax Returns. For a few years, now, HM Revenue & Customs (as it now is) has been encouraging everyone who files tax returns to “do it on-line”, and especially tax agents such as my firm. This will be the fourth year we have filed clients’ tax returns on-line, and by last “tax season” nearly all the problems had been ironed out. Most agents use third party software to file on-line, as the Revenue’s own system is … Continue Reading

Post-holiday blues

I have been a bit quiet of late. You could understand that a number of developments in the UK tax world have pretty much left me speechless. We have had the Budget, largely flagged in advance with the capital gains changes etc. but the income-shifting fiasco has been put on hold. Unfortunately it is not a dead duck and will reappear not much changed, I suspect; a serious canard if ever there were one.

We tax advisers have a job squeezing our holidays in these days but we managed a couple of … Continue Reading