The Secret Accountant returns with their take on how they once again survived January.
It’s that time of year again which fills all accountants with dread! Long hours (more than usual and weekends) all because the majority of my lovely clients leave it to the very last minute.
Why oh why do they leave everything until the last couple of days?
You can submit any time after 6 April, I tell everyone who will listen.
We offer reduced costs if done early and we start chasing in May that year….. But still on 1 January (or first working day back after Christmas) they start trickling in, week two of January sees a few more and by the last week it’s almost like a tsunami and on the 31st – yes, the 31st – at least a handful!
So we have the information and one of two things happen:
we process then the questions start
we get the information and we contact for missing information and questions.
Never ever does the first batch of information we receive provide everything we require, which in any of the other eleven months of the year is acceptable, but in January, come on…
You probably experience the same most frequently asked question as I do – what expenses can be claimed for?
My standard answer is always that HMRC doesn’t produce a definitive guideline on this, but anything that is incurred generally in the course of business is deductible. I give the example:
I drive to the station for a meeting, mileage deductible
coffee for client and me
taxi to next meeting
lost earphones for my phone replaced
sandwich with new client
Tube to next meeting
taxi back to the train station so I don’t miss train.
I think this is fairly straightforward, but I think it only right I should share with you some of the best deductions I have been asked to process but didn’t!
can I put through a tuxedo? – he was a plumber
a bearded dragon, yes a bearded dragon, for his secretary to relieve stress
dental work - new shiny teeth for an IT contractor
foreign holidays for the family – these are not tax deductible
manicures and facials for a finance director (male not female, although I’m not judging)
receipts from an 'adult shop'
can I get tax relief for my school fees, they are a charity?
hiring a pod on the London Eye to propose, even if she worked for you!
tennis lessons, Wimbledon - maybe networking but I am yet to be convinced…
We always work through the information. No matter how demanding the client or obscure the question we always complete and make sure submitted on time.
Who said accounting was boring! And I really do love my job.
By the way I submitted mine at 21.53 on 31 January…