Archive for January, 2010

Drivetime? In the morning?

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The new man has taken over
The change is now complete
There’ll be Drivetime in the morning
Five days every week
Dragons live forever, but not so little TOGs
Terry’s little helpers may turn into Chris’s COGs
The traffic totty stays the same and whoever does the weather
Chris Evans may turn out alright,
but a Terry Wogan? – Never!

DIY

Monday, January 11th, 2010

I understand the idea of DIY. Not necessarily to save money, but it seems almost lazy to have someone else do something that I can do myself. It isn’t necessarily the best use of time and we have to be careful not to exceed our own skill or knowledge base.

Tax doesn’t have to be taxing (unless you live in the UK) but tax is not straightforward. Add to this the mass of accounting rules on which many accountants would not necessarily agree and I do not understand why anyone would choose to do their own accounts and file their own tax returns – and sleep well.

The amount of misconception that we see amongst normal people who seek advice is likely to be repeated in the population that are self reliant. Our tax system is becoming increasingly draconian as HMRC recognise that self assessment does not equate to Shangri-la, where everyone is honest and gets it right – a ridiculous concept in the first place without adding, nay, piling on complication after complication. In this circumstance it is surprising that anyone risks doing it themselves.

Perhaps there is a misconception about errors and penalties. To the average person an innocent error or misunderstanding is easily rectified. ‘I did my best’ would be most people’s thought. To HMRC an error (innocent or otherwise) represents carelessness (they should know), which equates to negligence, for which they want a penalty in addition to the under-declared tax and interest on late payment. Good luck everyone.

Doesn’t time fly?

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Get up in the morning, same thing for breakfast? Not anymore. Driving to work today, I turned on the radio – it was Drive-Time. Didn’t know whether I was coming or going. I nearly turned around to go home. Time does seem to fly these days but this was ridiculous.

Health (un)professional

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Are you a health professional who has not disclosed some or all of your consultancy income? Not very professional of you, but HMRC have issued notice of a new disclosure opportunity, limiting the penalty to 10%.

HMRC have apparently identified a gap between the consultancy payments made by health institutions and the income declared by consultants. If you miss the opportunity to ‘own up’ within the disclosure time limit the penalty will be, by implication, more than 10%. The clock is ticking!

Auld Lang Syne

Friday, January 1st, 2010

In days gone by, today would have been the day to pay our taxes. Nowadays we have another month to ponder how to pay them. The smart brigade will, of course, have put funds to one side for this purpose and will be sitting smug in the knowledge that HMRC’s coffers will be enriched by them, on time, by 31st January. For others it may be a toss-up between paying off the credit card in full or keeping some funds back to pay, at least, something towards the tax bill.

For those of you who have delayed your tax return, the bliss of not knowing how much is due will soon be shattered when the return is completed and you realise the impact of that modest increase in profit last year, or the impact of those constant changes in code number that resulted in the PAYE system underclaiming tax from the salary, or the result of the property letting that produced a profit because of the very low mortgage interest rate.

Have a happy new year (and another cup of kindness – for auld lang syne).