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The Positive Accountant - Vol 2 Ed 41

Updated: Aug 5

Wasn't there meant to be a European cup or something this year ?

You know, the game when overpaid men chase an inflated pig's bladder, and grownups put silly flags on their cars and cry when 'we' go out in the first round ?

Googling it, I find that 'Euro 2020' is now being played in 2021.

Why am I bringing that up ? Well, from my limited knowledge of the sport I recall that 'we' normally go out because 'we' are not very good at penalties...

Neither, it would appear, are HMRC.

In fact, scarcely a day goes by without a penalty notification incorrectly coming in for one client or another. Now, I understand that penalties are an important part of any tax system, without a stick to beat us with how can HMRC make sure we behave ? (Hint to Mr Sunak, a carrot might be nice...)

But it would be great to only see a penalty when it is due. (Actually it's never great to see a penalty, but I think you know what I mean)

Not, for example, for the late filing of a payroll return due on the last day of the month which hadn't been filed on 28th February (no-one told the programmers 2020 is a leap year).

Nor for a company tax return due on 31st March 2021 which (oddly) hadn't been filed by 31st March 2020.

And so the list goes on. I tend to collect together a weeks' worth of penalties and appeal (each one has to be done in writing) in one fell swoop. Last week I spent a whole day doing them.

The cynic suggests that some people will just panic and pay, which would certainly help the 2 trillion public debt.

The moral of this, and why I'm raising it, is that if you receive such a communication, follow Douglas Adams' advice ('Don't Panic'), send it to your Positive Accountant who will deal with it on your behalf.

What are my positives today ?

1. I can pass a driving test

OK, that might be stretching the point a little bit, and anyone who has been a passenger with me probably wouldn't believe it anyway.

To explain, we have a seventeen year old in the house and the gauntlet was thrown down about how well we (didn't) know the Highway Code. Especially when Lizzie found that a mock test was available online.

There were 50 questions, multiple choice. Some were easier than others (eg 'You have just had an argument with a family member. Before driving away do you (a) drink an alcoholic drink, (b)....')

But I digress. The bar was set high, Debbie scoring 47. I won't boast, but if you fancy beating my 49, it is at

2. The Insurance Test Case has been won

At the start of the lockdown there was much anger being directed at insurance companies about how they were interpreting Business Interruption cover. Specifically about how they were arguing that it didn't cover Coronavirus shutdowns.

The Government intervened and said that they 'should' honour commitments, but that fell on predictably stony ground.

The FCA have taken a test case through the courts and in this case judgement has been made against the insurance companies.

Obviously we all know that isn't the end of it - it will be appealed, analysed, and it will remain to be seen whether all policies will be caught by the ruling. But it's a good step forwards.

As I understand it, if you have such a policy your insurance company/broker is required to write to you. No immediate action is needed. But good to be aware of it. More information can be found at

3. George's bank account is less secure

In the last edition, I shared the story of 'George' and his ultra high security bank account (daily payment limit £0).

I couldn't see an immediate problem with that - after all it means his money is safe from being hacked....

George was quick to point out though that one of the people he was wanting to pay was me. Oh.

I'm glad to report the issue was resolved, George has paid his debts and his blood pressure is back where it should be.

Stay safe, stay positive

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