Why doesn’t my accountant remind me to do things?

Calendar with thubmjacks

Every business has important dates to remember!

VAT Quarterly (or Monthly), filed one month and 7 days later paid by one month and 10 days later

PAYE/CIS Monthly – tax period to 5th of the month, filed by 19th paid by 22nd (you should remember monthly tasks without reminders)

RTI/FPS/EPS everytime you pay employees (you probably don’t need to be reminded to do this)

Company Accounts – due 9 months after year end, corporation tax payable 9 months and 1 day after year end

Self Assessment payments on account in January and July

Annual Returns on the 12 month anniversary of when the company started

Late Filing Stats

HMRC and Companies House apply tough penalties for filing late!

Its a common problem area, the fine comes in and then accountant and client blame each other

businesswoman is very multitasking

Its easy to understand how very large accounting practices simply lose track of when things need to be done

But it doesn’t have to be like this.

There are lots of ways your accountant could keep track of all the deadlines

Here is a list that I found on accountingweb posted by Howard Marks http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/anyanswers/question/practice-management-ultimate-list

AffinityLive (not accountant specific)

BTC PM Solution

Capium Practice Management

CCH Practice Management


Digita Practice Management




Iris Practice Management

Logical Office

MB Practice Manager


Practice Flow

Practice Launchpad

Work etc (not accountant specific)


My personal favourite is PracticeFlow, I have started using it for Bicknell Business Advisers.

Its not just dates you need to keep track of, if you are going to send out client reminders you will need UTR’s and amounts due. You Also need to track tasks and who has been allocated the work. PracticeFlow helps us do all of this and you can set sub-tasks and have 3 dates – start, planned to complete and deadline.

So why isn’t your accountant reminding you of important dates?

Last minute panics or penalties can be very stressful, makesure you know your deadlines or get reminders so that you can relax!

Working by the sea



Phoenixism – will new measures stop companies rising from the ashes

flame dove flying from yellow flire isolated on black

A phoenix company is a commercial entity which has emerged from the collapse of another through insolvency (wikipedia)

Phoenixism is a term used to describe the practice where directors carry on the same business or trade successively though a series of two or more companies. Each of the companies in turn becomes insolvent, leaving large unpaid Income Tax PAYE and NIC debts. A company will typically transfer its business, minus its debts, to the next company. Only essential trade suppliers will be paid in full before the transfer, so that Income Tax PAYE and NIC often remain deliberately outstanding.

The above example is typical of the type of case that HMRC is particularly interested in but it must be remembered that not all phoenix companies are ‘rogue companies’.

A Personal Liability Notice can be considered in situations where the directors attempt to ‘walk away’ from the debts of a failed company and resume management with a new company, sometimes indirectly as a ‘shadow director’ (see NIM12205). The new successor company will often trade from the same premises, using a similar name and with the same assets as the failed company.

Whilst not conclusive the following may indicate phoenixism and a potential Personal Liability Notice enquiry:

  • Rapid build up of NIC debts
  • Payment of selected debts e.g. trade creditors at the expense of HMRC liabilities
  • Transfer of assets, or sale of the assets by the liquidator to a new company or connected officer of the company, possibly at a lower than expected value. This may include transfer of work in progress.

But Phoenixism has also been used by property developers, but now new anti-avoidance tax rules should take away the tax advantages by making the distributions subject to income tax.

Implications for developing property

This could have a huge impact on the property sector, where it’s common practice for developers to set up a separate company to carry out each individual property development project. When the project is complete, the company is wound up. The use of separate companies followed by their liquidation is essential in managing risk. On liquidation, shareholders receive the retained profits as capital on which CGT must be paid. (Smith & Williamson)

We await the Budget in March for full details, but here is a link to the consultation


Is £277k a fair penalty for being 1 day late on VAT

Businessman and businesswoman in panic of the financial crisis

There have been a couple of recent cases that highlight the importance of filing and paying VAT on time. Both cases were argued on proportionality.

Blue Ocean Associates Ltd v Revenue and Customs (VAT – PENALTIES : Default surcharge) [2016] UKFTT 42 (TC) (26 January 2016)

VALUE ADDED TAX – default surcharge – return submitted one day late – with a penalty of £277,185.00  proportionate – yes

As the default which is the subject of the present appeal was the first such default by the Company in the surcharge period, the surcharge fell to be calculated at the rate of 2% on the amount which was paid late (£13,859,254.00) and was therefore £277,185.00.

Trinity Mirror PLC v Revenue & Customs [2014] UKFTT 355 (TC) (14 April 2014)

VAT – default surcharge – whether penalty proportionate – appeal allowed

In respect of the 06/07 VAT Period, Trinity Mirror was required to (1) make 2 payments on account of £1,546,965.00 each by, respectively, 31/05/2007 and 29/06/2007, and (2) file its VAT return and make a balancing payment of £5,467,130.92 by 01/08/2007.  Trinity Mirror made the 2 payments on account, and filed its VAT return, on time.  It made the balancing payment in full on 02/08/2007, that is, 1 day late.

The Penalty was £70,906.44

Its pretty clear from both cases that HMRC are getting tough on late returns and payments so its vital that businesses don’t miss deadlines!