Q. How easy is it to change to another firm of Accountants?
A. Very easy, your current Accountants will be contacted for professional clearance to take over handling your affairs and requesting the necessary handover information. The new Accountants will complete an authority form for you to sign for HM Revenue & Customs to let them know of their involvement.
Q. Do you charge for every contact or visit that I make to you?
A. The answer is normally no, but clarify this point. Most accountants develop a good personal relationship with their clients and understand their clients business commitments. Telephone advice and support is normally FREE, the only additional charges arise, if the accountant has to go away and do something specific.
Q. How do I start a Business?
A. Ensure that you find an accountant that specialises in your sort of business. Make an appointment and discuss your proposals, the accountant will advise you on the information that you need to provide to satisfy HMRC and Companies House in respect of a Limited Company. They should give you a precise costing of their fees. There should not be a charge for your initial meeting. You will be notified of the time cycle when annual accounts have to be completed to comply with Tax and other requirements.
Q. When do I have to pay my tax?
A. Normally on 31st January the year following your tax year, but your accountant will clarify the exact timing.
Q. How should I pay myself?
A. You need to discuss the most tax efficient system to suit your business, your accountant should advise you on the various schemes. Always pay yourself and your partner or wife sufficient to pay at least the minimum N.I. contribution, this ensures that you are both entitled to a full pension, at this moment of time.
Q. Should I do my own VAT and PAYE returns?
A. I would always recommend getting your accountants to complete the paperwork and submit the claims or payments for VAT and PAYE. It is possible to get a Payroll Company to do this. I have had many VAT and PAYE inspections which can take days, when I did the returns myself. Over the last ten years the returns have been done by my accountants, any inspections have been very quick with no queries.
Q. Who pays the accountants fees, if an investigation or problem arises?
A. Most accountants have an insurance scheme which costs around £100.00 plus VAT for small businesses, it is well worth taking it out. I had a malicious phone call to HMRC some years ago, this involved a harrowing two hour interrogation by a Tax Inspector, followed by six months investigation into my affairs at considerable accountants costs. The investigation was dropped when they realised that it was a malicious, mischief call. I asked the Inspector who was going to pay the fees, he said that they wouldn’t, but write it off against tax. Beware of organisations claiming that they have a fund of £50K for tax investigations, if they find that there is the slightest discrepancy in your accounts and they walk away. Your accountants has handled the accounts, he knows all about them, let him handle it, provided that you have complied with his instructions.