Regular readers will recall my incredulity in Edition 43 at the fact that the winner of the award for the most outstanding contribution to tax in the last 12 months was HMRC.
Credit where it's due, they have done an exceptional job at getting all of the new portals working in record time, which is perhaps the perfect example of work filling the time available - under normal circumstances these wouldn't have been working in five years !
But I am getting very wound up about the way they are unilaterally booting people out of the self assessment system - in order to 'simplify' their tax affairs.
Meet Georgie, a fictional name with a real life set of circumstances. Georgie works hard in her employment, receives some dividend income and also rents out her previous home. The tax liability on her employment is taxed under PAYE , the dividends and rental get taxed within the self assessment scheme, the income varies every year and she pays the tax each January.
What could be easier. The tax on her non employment income to 5th April 2020 gets paid in January 2021. We've already completed her 2019/20 tax return and told her how much to pay.
Except HMRC have decided to make things simpler and 'code in' her estimated dividends and rental for the current year. And told us not to bother putting tax returns in again.
So whilst she is paying her 2019/20 tax bill in January 2021 (as laid down in law) they are also collecting her 2020/21 liability each month with immediate effect. And because they don't want us submitting tax returns we have no normal mechanism to get the 2020/21 liability correctly taxed. That will have to be by letter - about a year after the tax has started to be paid. (Letters which at the moment are taking between six and seven months to be answered.)
I'd like to say Georgie is an isolated case. As in, I'd like to say that, but I can't.
I'm raising this not (just) to have a whinge at the way HMRC are operating this policy, but to make you all aware of the problem. And to urge you thatif you get a notice of coding from HMRC please fire it my direction at the earliest opportunity- remember that in their infinite wisdom we don't generally get a copy of these sent to us.
Remember, if you have 'missed' any previous editions, they can be found at
What are my positives today:-:
1. I heard from an old friend today
Not in age terms, mind.
I used to look after her successful tech startup business a few years ago, and now she's started up a new venture again. This isn't the first time that this kind of merry go round has happened to me, regrouping a little older, a little wiser. And what an exciting time to be starting a new venture...
2. Mornings are getting earlier
I was trying to work out why I've been waking up earlier recently.
And then it dawned on me.
3.Ridiculous driving excuses are now OK
So, correct me if I've misunderstood. If a driver isn't sure whether he or she can adequately see to drive they can put it to the test by going on a fifty mile drive.
Does that mean we can extend this into other areas ?
"Excuse me sir, do you know what speed you were travelling at ?"
"Yes, 95 mph. I was only doing it to check that I could stop from that speed. And as we're talking now I proved I can, so that's OK ?"
(ps I see Trip Advisor has suspended reviews for Barnard Castle...)
What have I been talking to clients about today ?
Overdraft facilities- the old fashioned view is that it's good to have an overdraft facility to help sleep at night, even if you don't need it.
I know there are bankers that read these musings and they will no doubt want to add their thoughts to what I'm saying. But generally banks don't like giving facilities that aren't used - they don't make any money from them !
I have a couple of clients who have overdraft renewals looming where they haven't used the facilities since last renewal. The reason they haven't been used is that they have managed their cash well, squeezing suppliers. One is now having trouble renewing the overdraft as it 'clearly isn't needed !'
So, might be worth dipping into a facility once in a while...
And yes, I do recognise that some readers are googling what the phrase 'unused bank facility' actually means.
Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay positive
Please - if you do read this far and feel inspired to forward it to anyone and everyone, please do so.
Thanks Cathy for this one. I think it will go down well !