MARTIN LEVIN & CO
Taxation Practitioners - Accountants & Auditors
Gordon Avenue - Highams Park - London E4 9QU
Telephone (Skype): Martin.Levin1066
Web Site www.MartinLevinABC.co.uk
NEWSLETTER FOR WINTER 2018
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It’s always a busy year, as the media has been awash with Brexit, tax matters have not seemingly been focused upon. That does not mean that each and every year a vast amount of proposals and changes take place. In a word, tax is a shambles. You, as clients, rely on us as your advisors, to sift out the wheat from the chaff. You appreciate that we will try to steer you through the mire. We have been inundated with a huge array of stuff from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) which THEY expect us to read, digest, and pass on to you, our clients. Don’t they know that clients are TRADERS, and that a huge amount of “businesses” employ five or fewer employees, or that the “self-employed” are a one-man band? Neither has the time nor energy to read, and act upon. That’s where we as accountants come in. We try to do this for you. Where you require an opinion, you turn to us. Telephone calls (remember them?) would often occupy a mere 7 minutes, and as it is our style, we try to leave you as a client happy. Modern business and younger clients, work outside of office hours. The use of text messages and e-mails, enables us to appraise queries and when additional research is involved, undertake these, before replying. Clients might recognise that we do not play tennis e-mail. Experience with another firm of accountants recorded that one errant client sent 11 e-mails on 31 January on his tax position. A seven-minute telephone call would have saved aggravation on both sides. Also had the client followed repeated requests to let his advisors have the relevant information early on at the start of the tax return season (which starts shortly after the end of April when clients are requested to gather in their information) a better professional relationship would have been established.
Making Tax Digital trundles on as clients were advised in previous Newsletters. However, if you are VAT Registered, by law, you must keep your records in a digital format as from 1st April 2019. What’s a digital format? Simply, no more paper records (thus the demise of the free ABC Accounts Book). How do I do this? The publicity attempts to say that “if you use a smart-phone, you can photograph bills, receipts, etc, and send them onwards”. To where? If you don’t wish to “be in control” – and as you are running your business, who doesn’t want to take responsibility? – pass it on to a computerised system. Which computerised system? Like Brexit, there are two types: those that don’t know; and those that don’t know that they don’t know. We have tried to comb the software houses that are providing a system. All seem to want a monthly fee. The lowest seems to be around £10 plus VAT per month, for a one-man-band, but most have aimed at between £15 and £30 per month Plus VAT. The Government used to produce free software, but declined to do so for this aspect. Instead they farmed it out to software houses. Perhaps with the shambles of Universal Credit, this was a good move?
If you are not VAT Registered, your duties (the government’s word) start on 1st April 2020.
We, as accountants, prepare Financial Accounts for you as clients, from the records that, under law, you are obliged to keep (anyway). The purposes of Financial Accounts is three-fold: (1) For the business - how are we doing? Do I need to amend my pricing structure? (2) For financial assistance purposes – eg the bank. (3) Lastly, for the Taxman. That is the order, not as so often we receive instructions from a new client who has ignored/overlooked all legal requirements, and asks us to “bail them out”. These are the clients that each accountancy practice finds slows them down, and causes havoc with their daily running. Look at how many accountants have so many low class clients expecting a decent service in December/January.
Thankfully, you as clients of our practice respect our requests, and act in good time. The majority of our clients know what their true liability is at 31 July annually. We accept that one or two might not, for exceptional reasons, and we are always sympathetic to that. However, once re-established, they are trusted not to re-offend.
Tax changes we had a 16-page Newsletter from HMRC in December covering a huge variety of changes. It asks us to “pass it on”. How many clients really want to learn about the changes that have been pushed through which were not covered by the media at the time of the Budget Speech (29 October 2018)? If so, we can always send you a link. The main advantages to our clients would be Tax Free Childcare.
HMRC Website – after so many years of frustration, we are able to access the payments that clients made in respect of Self-Assessment, Employer’s Pay-As-You-Earn, and Corporation Tax. But not Value Added Tax. Despite the “merger” of HM Customs with HM Inland Revenue on 18 April 2005, we still have most problems with the “Customs” (VAT). Does anyone want to take this up?
Radio Work – some of you might have heard the undersigned on the Radio. LBC (it used to stand for London Broadcasting Company, but since it went outside of London, was rebranded as Leading Britain’s Conversation) answering topical questions – or even an hour long ‘phone-in (twice) as “The High Street Accountant”. It is only by constant attendances at tax lectures (and others) that my knowledge is kept up-to-date, and so enables our practice to offer such an efficient service (in the old fashioned meaning) to YOU. Thank you for your loyalty, confidence, and prompt co-operation.