Thursday 13 October 2011

Box-Ticking Again

Christ! It never ceases, does it?

Fresh from dancing to the tune of VOSA, up pops HMRC.

We've just been notified that we're one of the lucky companies drawn out of the tax authority's annual lottery - the prize is a comprehensive fact-checking exercise.

We're only talking simple stuff, mind, like (all for 2009/10):

- Details of every item of expenditure for the tax year
- All petty cash records
- Full analysis of all direct costs (£1m worth)
- Explanation, get this, of a decrease in disclosed premises costs
- Breakdown of all vehicle repairs expenditure (we operate over 60 of them)
- Reason for increased admin costs (err, HMRC know we hired 20 new staff, they have their tax records)
- Breakdown of increased advertising items (staff don't just pitch up on the doorstep)
- Provide original documents for legal and professional fees (I'll get to that later)
- List all monthly HP charges incurred (again, for 60 odd vehicles)
- Sources of all capital introduced and reasons why

Fortunately, we just sit around scratching our arses day in day out so can spend a week pulling all this info out. It's not like we're running a business which employs 100 people or anything. Sheesh.

Of all those demands, though, I laughed out loud at the legal and professional fees one. You see, we're now going to have to liaise with our accountants - who have already been paid for collating the records for submission last year - in order that they can help us collate it all again. At their usual hourly rate.

Add that to the increase in paying fees to public sector bodies for never-ending additions to regulations we are forced to follow, and I'd be surprised if many companies in the UK have not seen an increase in such fees.

In other news, UK unemployment total reaches 17-year high.

Wow! How did that happen considering the utopian business environment this country affords, eh?

Good grief.


Anonymous said...

Take a copy of the HMRC request to your MPs next surgery and have him explain why you need to do this.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Speaking to our accountants this morning, they said about 1 or 2 of their clients go through this every year. Except for the past couple of years, that is, where it has been 4 or 5. They conclude that this must be because "the government are desperate for money".

Anonymous said...

Workers 0 Parasites 1
Daily Mail
Commons Speaker John Bercow has pushed through a 'disgraceful' £9 million increase in Parliament's budget despite auditors refusing to sign off last year's accounts.
Figures buried in the annual accounts of the House of Commons reveal it will receive a four per cent increase in its budget this year - from £219 million to £228 million.
The move emerged as the National Audit Office (NAO) refused to sign off Parliament's accounts for the second year running because of continuing concerns about MPs' expenses.
The spending watchdog said it could not approve the accounts because the Commons authorities had refused to hand over details of expenses claimed by MPs who were being investigated by the police for fraud.
Auditor General Amyas Morse described the refusal as 'disappointing'.

Smoking Hot said...

Very detailed information they want about your vehicles , Dick.

Perhaps you could ask them what happened to their 5618 they seized and to which HMRC claim they have no details about?

Sam Duncan said...

It's that pesky unfettered free market again, Dick.

NewsboyCap said...


Take a leaf out of the Captains book.

Just say NO, NO, NO!

Ask for a copy of the contract, signed by you, that says you have to supply the information they request.

Anonymous said...

Or, it could be government retribution for posting non-government-supportive commentary and opinion on your blogsite, if they are trying to force dissent back into line, by use of the punishment-stick method. Probably not, or could it?

RB said...

Dick my poor old mucker.

You know who I am and you know what I put in place last year to get out of this ridiculous shit.

Honestly, mate, if you have the wherewithall (which you clearly do) to step away from this stuff then now is a good time to do so.

As you know I posted on your blog some time ago about having had enough. I have not given the tax man the time of day since, having run a busines with employees, etc, etc, for over ten years previously, with all the shit that entails and which you will know well. He can bite me and anyone who he sends to enforce the few grand he says I owe him, whilst he in the same breath lets corporations off of tens of million in taxes, will just be met with a simple man, running his woodland who happens to have a very sharp axe or two hanging from his belt.

We all know we have had enough of this shit. We really can step out of it if we want. I know. I have done it.

Angry Exile said...

You see, we're now going to have to liaise with our accountants - who have already been paid for collating the records for submission last year - in order that they can help us collate it all again. At their usual hourly rate.

And there I was thinking that taxation was to provide services when really it's a jobs program for the accounting industry.

Anonymous said...

Reality check Dick.

It's okay you extracting the piss out of them.

It's a whole different ball of wax when you have the ability to get people to do stuff like SS.

Then you went and nominated some Labour MP for an award.

Clearly you're seen as a threat and so you must be given something to think about.

So these blogs do reach places others can't reach.

Brilliant - and milk this sucker for all it's worth.

Clarissa said...

More costs = less profit = less money stolen by government = increased efforts by government to claw it back.

It's almost as if they don't know what they are doing...

Dick Puddlecote said...

Anon @ 21:40: "Clearly you're seen as a threat and so you must be given something to think about."

I did actually consider that for a minute or two when the letter arrived (especially since I was the targeted Director out of the four of us), but discarded it. Sorry, but I'm not that far down the conspiracy road yet.

Understand the sentiment entirely, though. :)

Dick Puddlecote said...

Clarissa: Well, it's not for me to say, but ...

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Puddlecote

I don't see a problem.

Almost all the information should be in the purchase ledger files which should contain all original purchase invoices, and the petty cash records which should have original receipts.

The analyses requested can be obtained from individual nominal ledger accounts which should refer to the original invoices. For example the HP payments listing should be provided by printing out the open item account(s) of your HP provider(s) and original documents for legal & professional fees should be filed as any other invoice should be.

The explanation of the decrease in premises costs is probably sought in case you have been over claiming in previous years, especially as your staff levels have increased.

Your bookkeeper/accountant ought to supply all the information required at a cost of about an hour or two of his/her valuable time, and the professional accountant's role ought be approximately nil.

I would expect that the inspecting team would simply require desk space, access to the nominal ledger, either as a printout or onscreen, and to be pointed at the relevant files so they can browse them at their leisure.

Regular cups of tea or coffee with or without biscuits go down well.

I always found HMC&E staff to be very friendly on the numerous occasions when my employers or customers were inspected. The largest contingent was 3 on day one, falling to 2 for the remainder of the several days of inspection. Their work rate was not high. Apart from asking a few specific queries and seeking missing files, they pretty much kept themselves amused with little impact on the office routine.

Even staff from HM Collectors of Taxes were helpful and considerate during their flying visit when one customer had a temporary cash flow problem shortly after I started working with them.

Hope that helps.