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if I get an accountant to do my tax what should I expect from him?

(38 Posts)
hatwoman Thu 11-Sep-08 16:02:50

if you pay an accountant something in the region of £150-£200 to do your tax return what exactly does he do for you? if that's not a daft question...do they give you advice on record keeping (which presumably makes his/her job easier)? do they actively chase the figures they need from you? or do you have to give them near perfect records? do they advise you about what's tax deductable and what's not? and - a connected question - what proportion of your household bills do you claim (if any) and did your accountant advise you on this?

Geepers Thu 11-Sep-08 16:14:45

My husband is an accountant but working at the mo so I can;t ask him, but to be charged less than £200 you'd have to have pretty good records to get it done for that price.

MY DH charge-out rate is £75 per hour. He would actively seek info from you if it wasn't included. He would advise you on everything you can claim.

AuraofDora Thu 11-Sep-08 16:24:21

my accountant met with me and chatted through all this stuff, tax deductables etc
i supplied all invoices, receipts bits and peices and they did the thing, form filled in and tax bill which was usually right to the penny
it cost more than this though, iirc about £400 nearly 4 years ago!
she was nice and helpful available by phone for help and not accountlike at all shock grin
have a chat with them first..

Eddas Thu 11-Sep-08 21:43:26

The cost will depend on how complicated your return is. If it's fairly simple then it may well be cheaper to do it yourself.

They will give advice on record keeping, but again if you are a fairly small business then invoices in a bag may well be fine! They will ask for anything they can't find, or don't understand. And will chase you if they do your return each year and make sure you haven't forgotten(i've just chased hundreds of clients at work, was much funwink0 They will tell you if you can't claim something, or if you seem to have missed something out.

Re % of household, it is one room of your house, not including the kitchen or bathroom(s) so if you have a 3 bed with seperate lounge and dining room you are deemed to have 5 habitable rooms, you therefore use 1/5.

HTHsmile

Eddas Thu 11-Sep-08 21:46:24

oh and with regards to what you pay for, it's really that they sort everything into order, tell you how much you need to pay(if you file after 30 sept you'd have to figure it out yourself!)

Also, if they do accounts for you, then these can be accepted by banks etc as proof of income, they maybe less inclined to accept a non-qualified set of accounts as proof, IYSWIM

Have you looked into one-man band accountants as they are often cheaper than a local firm of accountants?

Polaris Thu 11-Sep-08 21:49:09

I pay my accountant £350. I pass her a load of paperwork once a year and have a brief chat with her. She then gets in contact with me two months later with a tax figure that is usually much lower than I would've arrived at. She's worth her weight.

ChasingSquirrels Thu 11-Sep-08 21:52:34

ditto Eddas really - though would say that the % of household bills also depends on whether the room is solely used for the business, or in joint use - which would then reduce the % allowable.
£150-£200 would cover a basic return - employment income (p60 + p11d), bit of bank interest, few dividends, and maybe a simple rental property. Self employment would be more, depending on the level of business and the quality of your records.

Polaris Thu 11-Sep-08 21:53:22

They should save you a bag of money despite the fact you pay them handsomely.

gameboy Thu 11-Sep-08 21:58:03

My accoutant gives me some 'checklists' of things I should be keeping/filing etc, which will presumably make his job easier and quicker.

He takes my files away and does a draft (phones with questions if necessary) and then I take a looks, usually don't change anything, and he files it.
He knows all the latest tax changes/ opportunities to save tax etc.

The way I look at it, if I was to try to do it, it would probably take me at least a couple of days to figure out, and in that time I could earn more doing what I do, than it costs to pay an accountant!

Buda Thu 11-Sep-08 21:59:19

I used to get sex from mine.

Not so much now.

hatwoman Thu 11-Sep-08 22:38:20

thanks all. dh has taken one on recently for his (very small) ltd company, and has asked him if he'll also do my s-e tax return. I keep getting dribs and drabs of info via dh. latest was a bit thin on info - I think I need to call the accountant up myself and seperate it out from dh. though it's a bit hard as we will soon have joint rental income.

ChasingSquirrels Thu 11-Sep-08 23:09:55

have your signed an engagement letter stating that he can deal with dh regarding your affairs? If not he should even be talking to your dh about it.
I would definately ask him to run through what he will be doing, what he wants, and what you could do to make the provision of information easier.

hatwoman Fri 12-Sep-08 11:56:19

cs - it's all a bit complicated - the line between dh's affairs and mine is very fine. we started off seeking his advice as to the best way to organise our collective affairs - one option was for us both to be directors of the ltd company and for both our earnings (even though entirely different areas of business) to be paid to the company. essentially we would then have had one company with a window-cleaning division and a party entertainment division (as it were). but having started off seeking joint advice it transpired that the simplest thing would be to keep the company for window cleaning only and for me to do the party entertainment as a self-employed sole trader. and he could do my tax returns. but then we have some joint areas of income - interest on joint accounts and (from next year) rent from a jointly-owned house. so the accountant needs to view the whole lot. all a bit messy. and the problem is that I missed a joint meeting with the guy...and was getting slighly hazy feedback from dh. but I now think the haziness was dh - who, instead of saying "he says you need to call him" gave me the accountant's rough informal answers to my questions . [do I get a prize for most boring post ever? grin]

Dh doesn;t clean windows btw. and I would be the world's crappest party entertainer...

ChasingSquirrels Fri 12-Sep-08 12:00:53

lol at businesses.
not overly complicated really - and I didn't mean that the accountant shouldn't talk to your dh at all, just that you should have authorised it. Sounds like that isn't an issue though as you say it is just having missed the meeting.

hatwoman Fri 12-Sep-08 12:06:33

I think it's a dh thing. mine misses the point sometimes...he gave me the rough vague answers to my questions (the ones in my op) when the real answer was "call him". maybe it was blindingly obvious but having started off dealing with him jointly it wasn't immediately apparent to me.

nowirehangers Fri 12-Sep-08 12:14:59

remember the accountant's fee is deductible
I pay mine far too much, love him so am going to stick with him until he retires and then dump his firm. But he has helped me a lot over the years compiling figures and spotting dozens of loopholes I would never known about

RubyRioja Fri 12-Sep-08 12:17:31

Isn't the due date 31 OCt??????? I am sure mine is. Not empolyed though if that makes a difference.

Does anyone file online?

ChasingSquirrels Fri 12-Sep-08 12:23:29

doesn't everyone file online

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 12-Sep-08 12:27:13

I pay £"35 to my accountant, I do have up to date books which helps so they don't trawl through all the recipts and have to spend hours on it, but I also have income from other areas so a bit of a complicated onme for them to do, I don't know whther that is good or not but seems reasonable to me, I can also phone her up at any time she sorts out my tax credits etc, they also look after the families many businesses.

hatwoman Fri 12-Sep-08 12:28:31

due date is 31st Oct (I called this morning) for 2007-8. I wasn;t s-e then, although I did one ad hoc piece of work so I do have to do one. I think I'm going to see how painful it is and then decide whether to use this bloke for next year. I'm a very simple lowly consultant whose outgoings comprise a bit of travel and some printer cartridges and whose incomings are abut 4 lump sums a year. so I do wonder if I should just do it myself...

ChasingSquirrels Fri 12-Sep-08 12:30:03

deadline 31 jan if you file online

Eddas Fri 12-Sep-08 12:30:17

31 oct is only deadline for manual returns. Online it's 31 Jan. Not everyone can file online, government workers for example. But they are allowed to file by 31st Jan. Interestingly the reason government workers can't is because the system isn't securegrin lol! So in reality the deadling is pretty much still 31 Jan. They did want to change it to 30 Nov, didn't they?hmm

Eddas Fri 12-Sep-08 12:33:50

Hatwoman, in your case i think i'd try doing it myself. Re the joint rental incoe you'll be receiving, if it's 50:50 then all you'll need to do is get the account to deal with it for dh's return and then get a copy of the return and use the figures for you own onewink

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 12-Sep-08 12:42:03

Sorry £235

WilfSell Fri 12-Sep-08 12:58:58

Can I have permission to hijack with a question for helpful accountants on this thread (sorry hatwoman grin)

Me and DH own a house which was until recently lived in by his mother (who died recently) We are the mortgage payers and it is in our name; she paid no rent or maintenance.

She died in July. We have done nothing with it since but intend to rent it out. Will we have to file a tax return this year (is it April 2008 to April 2009, or 2007-2008 that people are returning now?)

Or do we only need to start filing returns when we are receiving an income? Do we need to even if we are making a loss each month or do we have to leave that up to the IR to decide (ie presumably we have to account for which things are allowables etc)...

Do you think managing this single property justifies an accountant or can i work out how to do it myself (am reasonably numerate, IT literate and analytical...)

Any advice gratefully received.

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