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 scenario would be the most common given the highish interest rates on mortgages that prevailed to the end of 2007-08. It is extraordinary that this issue has not been sorted out. I decided the safest approach was to make a white space note about it.

I have just taken a call from a new enquirer. He sold his company twelve months ago for a lot of money, received a termination pay off as well, has a lot of paperwork to go with it and can I quote a fee for working out his tax position without having seen any detail anyway? Can I do his Tax Return for 2007-08 by Saturday week?

Well, no I cannot quote other than the high fee I told him to err on the safe side. Would you ask a painter to quote to decorate your house if he hadn’t been to it? Could we do it anyway in the time when we haven’t seen any of the paperwork in detail and other clients are in front of him? We’re happy to do it in February and in the context of £100 fines it seems more important to get it right given the amounts involved rather than lose sleep over a late-filing penalty. Anyway, what kept him so long?

I am sure our marketing friends would think I missed a trick somewhere and sales people would think I should have “closed”, but what with the shortage of telephone boxes to change in I am not sure what I could promise if the Return had to be done by the end of the month. I believe I did the right thing and am not going to lose any sleep over it.

Back to work with the other January late runners and thank goodness for my more considerate clients!

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