These are unprecedented times that we are now living through and it is our duty to provide our clients with help, support and advice where appropriate. There are a number of important messages we want to convey to you, so I have attempted to detail these messages in appropriate sub-sections. Please make allowances however because as fast as we draft this email, the situation seems to have changed. Nonetheless we consider it more important at this stage to provide our clients with as much useful information as possible that is correct as at time of writing.
Internal Practice matters
Our office continues to operate as normal and in line with our regular opening times, Mon-Fri 8:30-5:00. Unfortunately, we do not expect this to continue for long and we have put in place contingency plans for our employees to work from home. It is our intention to provide “business as normal” services to clients wherever possible.
Measures have been taken to reduce face to face contact with clients to an absolute minimum. Where possible our dealings with you, our clients, will be by electronic means. HMRC advise that businesses and individuals are still required to submit tax returns on time and therefore we intend to remain open for business to support our clients in achieving this. With this in mind, all of our payroll, bookkeeping, accounts and tax return services will continue as normal.
We can arrange to collect client documentation where required and clients are still welcome to deliver their paperwork and documents to us. We will take necessary precautions to avoid close contact with clients in both instances. We have a number of methods available to all clients to send us their documents by other means:
- Post – we have a business response envelope service, so clients can send documents to us in the post and the postage is paid by us.
- Receipt Bank – this is an app that sits on a smartphone and allows clients to send us documents by simply taking a picture on their phone of each document
- Cloud based bookkeeping software
- Onvio Portal Service – we invested in this technology late last year and it was our plan to invite clients on an ‘as required’ basis, so some of our clients are already using the system. Over the coming days we will be blanket inviting all clients to create an account on our Onvio portal service. Once the account is created, clients can upload documents to us and we can share documents with clients, a fully two-directional system. Importantly the service allows clients to sign documents electronically and the system has been approved by all of the relevant authorities.
If any of the above are of interest to you please get in touch
We received a rather distasteful email late yesterday from a national firm of accountants offering to provide a time to pay arrangement service to tax payers for the sum of £1,800 + VAT. Apparently this was a reduced rate (special offer) and the email set out how difficult it can be to convince HMRC to enter into a time to pay arrangement.
We perceive that email to be blatant profiteering and an attempt to prey on the fears and concerns of the most vulnerable. As the guidance from the government above states, HMRC will now be far more open to these conversations in the light of recent events. It has always been our understanding that when negotiating time to pay arrangements, HMRC require contact directly with the tax payer and not the agent. If it is the case that we are able to have these conversations on behalf of clients, we will gladly assist where clients wish us to do so. In all but the most obscure of cases, we will offer this service to our clients absolutely free of charge. Please contact us if you require assistance with such a matter, we will help as much as we can.
If clients deem that they may require to apply for a government backed business interruption bank loan, it is highly likely that the bank will require business plans and forecasts before accepting a loan request. This is also a service that we can provide and would be happy to do so should we be required. We have no intention of profiteering from this exercise and we will assess each case individually and discount the cost of the work favourably in every case.
Finally, we wish to convey a personal and heartfelt message to you, your employees, business associates, your business and your livelihood in general. We are comparatively speaking a small practice, but our commitment to you is that we will do whatever we can to help you and your business survive the coming storm and recover as quickly as possible through these challenging times.
From us all, our very best wishes to you and your families.