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 present adviser. In a sense I was pleased that my nose for what was fair was in line with the market. My USP is that I give more for the money in terms of value, because not only do I carry out the compliance at a fair price, but I am always available to clients on the telephone, giving proactive advice and help my clients be more efficient.
In this case I was concerned that I was being asked to quote for a low turnover business which consistently makes losses and has done for years. There was no other income available against which to set off the losses, for reasons I will not go into. HMRC, if they would ever think about it, would say that this was not a true business but a hobby, and that the losses should not be tax deductible elsewhere.
I said to my prospect that I thought the “business” really was a hobby, and that it would save a great deal in accountancy and tax compliance costs if the present agents were to ask HMRC to agree that the activity was a loss-making hobby and that tax returns and accounts would not be required in the future. Of course I gave away the chance to bid for the work, and probably the present incumbent will lose the business, but I think they should have given it up anyway rather than churning through a pointless process for a regular annual income. I am not saying they were unethical; just not thinking about what they were doing. What do you think?
Have you submitted your Tax Return yet?
On our bikes
Exemplary Consulting for Business Support
Follow me on Twitter