With the January tax returns rush complete, what do we do now?
February is the month where you take some time off to rejuvenate and reinvest your energy into the future. While it is quiet, important tasks can be done which were previously at the bottom of your list.
A good starting point is tidying up your clients’ information and looking at your practice management. Go through your list of clients and then:
terminate services on the practice management for clients you have ceased to act for
ensure that HMRC authorisations are removed for these clients
double-check they have moved their registered office if they were otherwise using your registered office services
all records are returned and there are no unnecessary ones clogging up the storeroom
ensure all engagement letters and consent forms for current clients are up to date and relevant
check you are charging enough for the services you provide - very important
consider sacking clients who were unappreciative of your advice and were a real hassle for the little money they pay
make sure all paperwork received from signed tax returns in the last few weeks is filed correctly
undertake your KYC internal money laundering procedures audit for your clients if not already done in the last 12 months.
Next on your list should be to start planning your March year-end company accounts. Depending on the services you provide to your clients, major clients often require punctual advice for their big capital spends for AIA claims, bonuses for their executives, R&D claims and pension contributions etc. You need to start arranging dates in your diary to see these clients so there is sufficient time to implement these decisions before the year end.
Individual tax planning
A similar planning exercise can then be undertaken looking at individual tax planning. For high earner individual clients, check whether they should put extra money into their personal pension accounts to avoid paying higher taxes and to minimise the loss of their personal allowances. This could also be utilised for clients receiving child benefits, to reduce their child benefit tax charge. Independent financial advice should be pursued before making any financial commitments.
For joint rental properties owned by civil partners or a husband and wife, see if they need advice in order to make some elections to transfer a larger share of their property to the other half to maximise the family tax savings; however, legal advice should be sought before any elections are made.
Policies and procedures
Look to ensure your policies and procedures reflect what you are doing. ACCA has a number of policies and procedures to support our practitioners including for AML and data protection.
Also consider how you can make your firm stand out for clients, potential clients, recruits and those you may wish to influence. Remember you can take and use articles in In Practice, you can utilise ACCA guides and also much of the other support material in your firm. You could enter an award. You may wish to join the Practitioner Linked In group.
MTD for VAT
Last but not least, Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) is coming for the period beginning 1 April 2019 for VAT registered businesses where their turnover is more than £85,000 for twelve months ending on 31 March 2019. Ensure:
you register your practice with HMRC for Agents Services Account (ASA)
once you have received your new HMRC gateway login details, you need to start registering your affected clients for MTDfV (this does not mean you have to apply for a separate 64-8 authorisation if you already have one in place that should suffice)
that the software you are using for your clients’ VAT returns is MTD compliant and ready for this new tax journey.