September already! It does not seem that long since the daffodils were coming out and the leaves were unfolding on our trees. And now it’s September.
I have had a couple of conversations in the last few days highlighting the change. Next month there will be Halloween and then we will be on the serious countdown to Sshh, you know what.
Mind you, at this time of year, our thoughts are turning to January and filing the 2023 Self-Assessment income tax returns. If you have not given us your tax return information, please let us have it as soon as possible because we get a mountain of stuff to process in January and have to work all hours to get it done in time.
It would have been better if the tax return filing deadline had been before Sshh, you know what, and that is what was originally planned. But HMRC relented and put the filing date back to where it is now. Just think how nice Sshh, you know what, would have been if we had all our tax returns filed beforehand.
It has been interesting reading articles about tax returns recently and in particular the prepopulating by HMRC of much of the information for tax returns. HMRC will already hold details of your payroll and pension income. Ultimately, they will be in possession of much of the other information, almost negating the need for a tax return entirely. But do you trust them to get it right?
Their IT systems seem to work reasonably well but they lack staff and just like the rest of us, struggle to fill their vacancies.
So, in this brave new world, when tax returns are maybe going to be a thing of the past, do we still have a function? You must be the judge of our value to you, but I will say that we are well placed to ensure HMRC’s data is accurate and then to fill in any gaps, keeping you legal and ensuring that you have fulfilled your statutory duty, and of course, not paying any more tax than is legally due.
We do have a very important function away from our compliance work and that is providing financial and business advice to you, whether that be for you personally or your business. This is where we have the most fun as it puts us in the heart of your plans for the future development of your business. We become a greater or lesser part of your growth strategy.
We also have an extensive network of contacts and so can assist you if you are looking for other professionals, trades and much more.
Of course, our compliance function is becoming much more extensive. You now have an obligation to keep digital records and to file VAT returns electronically from that software. Many businesses struggle with that and so rely upon us to fulfil their legal obligation.
RTI was brought in for payroll and now submissions have to be made to HMRC before you pay your staff. So we prepare payrolls of all shapes and sizes and we make all the submissions to HMRC as well as uploading pension deductions under auto enrolment.
Shortly there will be MTD and, starting with the self-employed, quarterly reporting of trading transactions. Again, we have an important role in helping our clients.
And in spite of the HMRC prepopulating your tax return, they will still be requesting that you submit one. We also need to produce your Corporation Tax returns as well as the CGT 60 day returns following the sale of residential property.
So, I don’t think we will be out of work anytime soon.
Anyway, even though it is in the middle of arguably our busiest time of year, we are looking forward to Sshh, you know what, that lovely tinsel covered elephant that nobody wants to mention just yet. You know, Christmas!
Have a happy January, get your tax return filed by December.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership