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Is this normal for a chartered accountant?

(27 Posts)
NichyNoo Fri 16-Aug-13 17:01:48

As of this new tax year, I earn £44,000 and DH earns £74,000 (plus bonus) through PAYE. We have savings, a few shares and I have private medical insurance through work that I need to declare on self assessment. Thus I think we both need to do self assessment from now on. I am looking for a chartered accountant to basically advise us on how to do this (i.e. what needs to go on self assessment and in which boxes - I looked at a sample submission and can't see where my medical insurance premium would go for example).

I am trying to make an appointment with a local chartered accountant. I want to pay to have all this explained to us. The accountant is saying that we need a free consultation to 'assess our needs' then they will provide a quote for services. Is this normal? I ask because we literally have no spare time for meetings (out of the house till 8pm three days a week and 5pm the other two and will need to pay for evening childcare whilst we attend meeting). So we don't want to go to a sales meeting - we want one meeting to be taught all of this.

Is this likely? Do all accountants only do this assessing needs then a quote for services? We are so time short that we don't want to waste time at a meeting only to get a ridiculous quote and have to start all over with meetings with a different company.

Can you not do it yourself using the P60 forms?

With PAYE don't you also get a tax code which adjusts the tax paid according to savings, dividends and gift aid?

It probably comes under giving financial advice. Financial Professionals are required to take facts so they fully understand your financial position. That would be effectively the free meeting and then they are able provide services and charge accordingly. This is standard for all types of advice and protects you and the professional.

However, self assessment is fairly straightforward - you both sound like intelligent professionals. You can call HMRC helplines and they would talk you through. There are guidance notes to completing self assessments and these are well written - pdf downloads off the HMRC website.

trilbydoll Fri 16-Aug-13 17:27:02

Why does your medical insurance need to be declared through self assessment? Usually your employer would prepare form P11d for you and HMRC will adjust your tax code accordingly.

But in answer to your question, yes, they are probably looking for cross selling opportunities. You could try a one man band type of accountant, they are more likely to be happy with a one off fee.

NichyNoo Fri 16-Aug-13 17:27:59

Thank you. Our P60s will only show what we've paid by PAYE I think and this is done by work who don't know about savings and dividends etc.

I know we need to contact bank and share companies (???) to find out what interest and dividends we have earned once the tax year ends. That bit on the form looks simple. I couldn't see where to put the private medical subscription though (work suggest I will need to pay approx £250 per year for this but can't see what box it goes in). I'll have a look at the guidance to see if it really is that simple. Thank you.

NichyNoo Fri 16-Aug-13 17:31:25

trilbydoll - no idea. I've just started the job and on all the HR stuff it just says that if I opt to have the private medical insurance I will need to declare the subscription via self assessment.

TheGirlFromIpanema Fri 16-Aug-13 17:33:53

Your current situation sounds as though it may be more complicated than just a couple of entries on a tax return tbh.

I'd certainly not take on any educating/teaching you what to do without a full look at the whole picture.

To do this I would absolutely insist on a meeting as otherwise it could involve a lot of to-and-fro-ing via e-mail or phone calls to get the correct information and it probably wouldn't be worth the time or hassle.

TheGirlFromIpanema Fri 16-Aug-13 17:35:56

Also worth noting that accountants are bound by the same anti-money laundering regulations as others in financial services.

The quickest and easiest way to vouch for the fact that a person is who they say they are is a meeting and a copy of the passport/drivers licence smile

Usually you should get a dividend remittance from the company/share registry showing the tax deducted and a tax statement from the savings company (if the interest is subject ro tax).

The self assessment form also comes with lots of notes and your employee should be providing you and HMRC with your 'tax statement' P11d

Your affairs really do not sound that complicated and the guidance and examples on HMRC's website are very useful.

For the PMI and other benefits-in-kind your employer should provide you with a P11d which you use the information from to fill in the employment pages in your tax return. Dividends and interest are also included in the tax return but again it is really straightforward.

Try looking at these for help.

www.hmrc.gov.uk/worksheets/sa150.pdf

www.hmrc.gov.uk/worksheets/sa102-notes.pdf

If you are still concerned then try using a tax adviser or even a tax technician as it will probably cost a lot less than an accountant.

The employment pages are called supplementary pages by the way.

Ireallymustbemad Fri 16-Aug-13 18:17:08

As a Chartered Accountant I would agree that the normal procedure is to have a free introductory meeting then quote for services. The issue is that often during the initial consultation we ask questions and then other bits and pieces come out which change the answers or what needs to be done. It rarely is just as simple as the person explained in an email or initial phone call.

Strange though that you refer to it as a 'sales meeting' as I would never have thought of it as that but as a getting to know you and fact finding mission. As an earlier poster said we're covered by anti money laundering regulations so have to do a 'know your client' exercise before we can get involved.

Can you find a Chartered Accountant that will go to you in the evening? I prefer daytime meetings but do visit some clients in the evening if they request.

That said, if you really have no other income then your affairs may be that simple. In which case you could just phone up the self assessment helpline and get the answers on which box to complete that way.

As for the suggestion above that a tax adviser or technician will be cheaper, yes they will if you use an unqualified one!! Make sure you use either a Chartered Accountant (ACA or FCA after their name) or a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA after their name). There is no regulation of the terms 'accountant' or 'tax adviser' so anyone can call themselves one with no knowledge at all.

Oblomov Fri 16-Aug-13 18:20:19

Completely normal and essential for accountant to have meeting (free) to assess your needs, before giving quote.

I used to work for one of the 'big-four' by the way so am well aware of professional qualifications and obviously you should only use someone actually qualified, grin. There would not be much to be gained otherwise.

In my experience a lot of chartered accountants do not have a lot of exposure to personal taxation unless they have taken the additional exams with one of the taxation professional bodies. Hence, I would say a taxation professional is probably more useful for you.

Ireallymustbemad Fri 16-Aug-13 18:40:05

Charleybarley - I also used to work for one of the big 4 and would agree that that environment is not always conducive to learning about personal taxation in practice . A local general practice chartered accountant however will have had loads of experience in addition to the technical tax knowledge required for exams. I spent a few years after leaving big 4 life making sure my tax knowledge was tip top before going into local general practice.

ValentineWiggins Fri 16-Aug-13 18:43:22

We both do ours using the taxcalc software - including savings, dividends, rental income, private medical, capital gains. It's really not that hard. Plus things like private medical will show on your p11d so you just put the figures in from there.

Still, I think I would probably rather use someone who had focused in depth on their subject and had done the exams, but I suppose it is a matter of personal preference.

lborolass Fri 16-Aug-13 18:51:56

I'd just forgo any tax allowance for the medical insurance and do the return yourself. You'll pay more to the accountant than the tax you'll save.

If I'm understanding you correctly you are paying the medical cost not your employer so p11ds aren't relevant. Is that right?

You will need to register for self-assessment OP, and it is probably better to do this sooner rather than later, as it can take a while for the username and password to be issued.

lucidlady Fri 16-Aug-13 18:54:03

I am a Chartered Tax Adviser and to be honest, I think you could easily do your returns yourselves using HMRC software. You need to register for self assessment using an SA1 - go to www.hmrc.gov.uk and download this. You can then register to do your taxes online, which is really straightforward. The software asks you all the relevant questions about PAYE, P11Ds, interest, dividends etc.

lucidlady Fri 16-Aug-13 18:55:05

Ps I am also Big 4 and work in Private Client Tax.

Nerfmother Fri 16-Aug-13 19:01:19

Really easy to do yourself. Used to be in tax and now something else but still do dh's online. The medical insurance etc amounts will all be on the p11d you get from your employer, and the tax return online is quite simple. Make sure you actually reflect ownership of assets: bank accounts that are joint for example and interest spilt between you: bank sends out a tax cert showing how much interest and tax was paid.

NichyNoo Fri 16-Aug-13 19:06:36

Brilliant - thank you for all the advice. To answer some questions - we only arrived in the UK in April 2013 so all of this is in preparation for filling in tax return for the current year (2013-14) so we are not in a rush.

We literally have - £74,000 plus bonus tbc, £44,000 both via PAYE. Some dividends (maybe about £500 per year), savings interest (about £500 per year with basic rate tax already deducted), the PMI that my employer pays for and that I apparently need to declare.

We both have company pensions so not sure if these can be put against any tax.

We have no other income (rental/capital gains etc). I kind of just wanted a one-off tutorial with a specialist rather than an ongoing relationship as I am confident I can fill them in myself if I get help the first time round. Maybe as some suggest I could just speak to HMRC....I didn't realise they gave help directly.

Yes, they are generally very helpful. Do not leave it too near tax return deadline times to call though as they can be a little stressed then. grin

Company pension contributions go through PAYE. It will be straightforward really, I do both DH's and mine online using the HMRC software, and it is very simple.

riksti Sat 17-Aug-13 08:15:46

If you arrived in the UK in April then my question in a meeting would be - do you have any foreign income? This could complicate matters significantly.

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