Self-assessment 2007/08 – have you considered…

By now you will have familiarised yourself with the new filing deadlines to apply for the 2007/08 tax year onwards, as handed down by the Carter Review:

Deadline for filing paper returns 31 October

Deadline for filing online returns 31 January

There are, however, a couple of pitfalls for the unwary hidden in amongst these changes.

  • HMRC will no longer approve computer-generated paper “substitute” SA tax returns for SA100 (individuals), SA800 (partnerships) or SA900 (trusts). This will be a particular problem for any advisers familiar with the limitations of HMRC’s online software, which cannot accept certain types of return and consistently rejects some returns with particular combinations of pages and/or boxes completed. You probably have a couple of clients for whom you usually post a signed print-out return from your tax software – that appears not to be an option. Their issued paper tax return must be used instead.
  • There are a small number of return types which still retain the old deadline of 31 January for paper returns. These are:
  • A trustee of Registered Pension Schemes
  • A non-resident company liable to Income Tax
  • MPs and National Assembly members who complete the relevant pages in their tax return.
  • Returns of the tiny proportion of SA taxpayers whose Returns “cannot currently be filed online because HMRC has not yet been able to develop online facilities for their particular circumstances”. There is no guidance as to which taxpayers this might include. If you can establish that your client is such a taxpayer, you are still permitted to file a paper, computer-generated substitute return provided it is identical in appearance to the HMRC form in question.
  • On the plus side, the enquiry “window” for tax returns has now been amended such that it closes twelve months after the actual date on which the return was filed, rather than twelve months from the filing deadline, as formerly. This is good news for advisers seeking to reassure their clients that their tax affairs for a particular year are secure as soon as possible.
  • From 2007/08 onwards, taxpayers who complete the Capital Gains pages must also include their Capital Gains computation.
  • HMRC have redesigned their online filing system so that certain parts of the return, such as the box of PAYE under or over payments, are already filled in. These can, however, be overwritten if you believe they are incorrect, so it is still worth double-checking the figure.

For further information listen toHMRC’s April 2008 podcast on self-assessment advice for agents.


Case Studies

The Tax Man

Minimise the stress of an investigation and make use of our extensive experience in securing best outcome for our clients

Business Valuation in Distress

Take advantage of our impartial and rigorous due diligence procedures

FD in The Cupboard

Our innovative ideas are here to improve your business performance and secure appropriate and cost effective funding

The Tax Man

The Tax Man

A new client was introduced to us via a recommendation with whom we arranged to meet on a regular basis in order to determine a number of changes that we felt were needed to their business structure. The client was at the time operating as a husband and wife partnership. The business was flourishing and had a number of large contracts with big organisations.

At the start of the process they were still heavily immersed in their day to day operations so we can get a full flavour for their ambitions, aspirations and growth plans. We quickly recognised there were sufficient tax savings which can be achieved by changing the structure from a partnership to a corporate entity. We carried out a business valuation and disposed of the goodwill from the old to the new business. Unfortunately, as often is the case with efficient tax planning, HMRC got involved and disputed our valuation.

An HMRC investigation can be a very stressful time for any client, even for those best prepared. However, our client had minimal input in the HMRC communication as we dealt with this professionally behind the scene. As an added benefit, our client could rest on the security that all work was covered by insurance and therefore all costs and time in dealing with this enquiry were covered by the fee protection policy we had put in place.

The initial approach taken by HMRC was very aggressive and they tried to present an argument that there was no goodwill in the business. We challenged HMRC’s view that the goodwill was worthless. After lengthy correspondence and numerous telephone calls, HMRC agreed 100% with our original valuation, which preserved our original tax saving plan for the client. Tax savings on this case where in the region of £75K at the outset, with ongoing savings of £6,000 per annum. We are pleased to add another happy client to our portfolio.

Business Valuation in Distress

Business Valuation in Distress

Selling a business is never an easy process, but when disputes arise, the need for a reliable third party due diligence process is even greater.

Tearle & Carver have extensive understanding of the requirements for remaining objective when managing a potentially difficult company buyout. In one such case, we were approached by the courts to act as independent accountant for an acrimonious business sale in which one partner was exiting the business and selling shares to the other. Given the circumstances, both sides had totally polar views of what their business was worth.

After arranging an initial meeting with the company, we were thorough in ensuring we completed due diligence, validating the figures in the accounting records, carrying out adjustments where appropriate, and drafting a set of reliable management figures within the framework required by the court.

A draft version of the report detailing our findings and conclusions was submitted to both parties, giving them the opportunity to voice any queries or concerns and ensure all relevant factors had been taken into account.

Through this process, we were able to submit a final report to the courts that was both binding and acceptable to both parties, effectively resolving what could otherwise have been a time consuming and costly process for all sides.

FD in The Cupboard

FD in The Cupboard

For smaller companies, it is often not possible or cost effective to pay for a full-time Financial Director.
Many of our clients therefore make use of Tearle & Carver’s extensive expertise to provide the services of an FD as and when required.

In this case, we were approached by the management team of an organisation looking to acquire the existing business via an MBO (Management buy out). Their business plan had proved ineffective for securing funding, and what they needed was financial expertise from someone with a developed understanding of the company’s internal workings.

Tearle & Carver helped deliver the solution our clients were looking through utilising our bank contacts in order to make the MBO viable, while also building a robust business plan and preparing our client for the rigorous vetting process. To help with cash flow issues, we introduced factoring which led to improved cash flow management.

We advised on the appropriate business valuation and structure, and continued to prepare monthly accounts to track profgress once the management were fully in command of all the information they needed to move their business forward.

In order to best assist these clients through the crucial first year of ownership, we attended board meetings on a regular basis, a service that we continue to provide to date.

With our continually developing understanding of their business, this client is able to remain confident that Tearle & Carver can provide any financial support they may need, now and in the future.