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The Positive Accountant - Vol2 Ed 14

Yep, inundated with cabbage recipes.  I just knew it.  Can't wait to get cooking now.

Moving on to more serious matters, I came across a bizarre piece of news from HMRC today.  They have gone public and told us all two things, both with a view - I'm guessing - to saving money.  The official line, of course is 'we're reducing the amount of paper we send and we're making everything available online.'

Those that know me well will know that I love technology.  But there are limits.  The two things that they are not going to be sending out are:-

1.  Statements showing how much tax is due.  I understand why, my job is to calculate it and tell you all.  Which I do - and then get emails/phone calls nearer the payment date asking me how to pay and why HMRC haven't sent a statement.  So now at least we know, there won't be one issued - and failure to receive one won't be an excuse for not paying.

2. Paper tax returns. I completely support this - to a point.  Like most modern accountants every tax return I do is prepared and filed electronically.  So I don't (and therefore you don't) need to be sent a multi-page tax return which will simply go in the bin.  If this drives the dinosaur accountant out of business that's no bad thing.

And HMRC do provide a free piece of software for taxpayers to use themselves - even though it doesn't allow completion of land and property pages, or indeed many of the more complex areas.

They helpfully point out that if you do want to file a paper return you can always print a blank one off the internet.  Which leaves completely unserved the significant number of tech-challenged taxpayers who do their own returns.  

I can't help but think that both of these steps will lead to poorer tax compliance, especially amongst the unrepresented population.

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What are my positives today:-:

1. I have a new subscriber

That's not really massive news.  But the story behind it is.

I was catching up on a client issue with a land agent who operates in Cambridge.  We hadn't spoken for a while, and inevitably in exchanging pleasantries we compared how our businesses are faring in our new world.  

I was surprised to hear what he knew about what we'd been up to.  He explained that this blog is doing the rounds in his office and being spoken about well outside of the list of subscribers...So he is now officially on the list rather than getting it second/third hand.

2. New look for the office starts tomorrow

This fits the 'how are we coping with the new world' theme.

We're taking the opportunity of an empty office to do some redecoration, clearing out some furniture, freshening the place up and laying some much needed new carpet.  So when the world restarts properly it will have a freshness about it.

At the same time we've taken some advice on office layout to be compliant with the new health and safety expectations and changing the layout so that nobody will be directly facing each other.

3. Zoom mistakes continue

I've previously linked some public domain Zooms.  Today's isn't recorded, sadly, but maybe should have happened on a call I was on.

On a conference call with a client and two lawyers.  Partway through, the video feed seems to drop on one of the lawyers and he mutes.  The conference continues.

Then for reasons unknown, probably catching the wrong key, our hero reappears.  In complete oblivion to the call going on he has his arm round his young daughter and is reading her a 'Hello Kitty' book.

Which, is very sweet and I very much suspect isinfinitelymore interesting than the share purchase agreement that he should have been commenting on...

Still, not as embarrassing as Irish MEP Luke Flanagan who managed to address the European Parliament meeting via Zoom with no trousers on.  Watch the link below, I think he's caressing his right buttock partway through !

What am I talking to clients about today ?

Tax Deferral -the old rule is that tax deferred (ie to a later year) is tax saved.

But...I think most people are expecting tax increases once this situation we're in is resolved.  So think carefully about things where a tax liability is switched from one year to another.

This can even go as far as pension contributions.  It would be a brave adviser with a highly reliable crystal ball to solve this one, but if you get tax relief today at 40%, in return for a future tax rate of, who knows, 60%, is it a good trade off ?

Where's Mystic Meg when you need her the most ?  Ah, self isolating.

Until tomorrow, stay safe, stay positive 


07917 338342

Please - if you do read this far and feel inspired to forward it to anyone and everyone, please do so.    

A sign of the times - I went flying last weekend, this photo is looking East from Southwold.  There are oil tankers moored up for as far as the eye can see.  Going nowhere fast

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