UK Accountant filed self assessment late


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Hi,

I am member of the general public, who uses the services of a chartered management accountant to submit my self assessment tax returns. This year, however, he submitted it late and I have a few doubts about his reasoning.

Firstly, in the middle of March he asked if I had received a letter from HMRC requesting a self assessment to be filed. I had a search but could not find this letter. Then he said he needed authorisation from HMRC to check whether I was required to file a self assessment this year. So I received a letter from HMRC with an authorisation code which I forwarded on to him. About a week later he says that I needed to do one, according to HMRC.

When I pressed him on why he did not perform these actions prior to January 31st, he cited that:

"I cannot submit tax return without your permission and if HMRC has not notified you to submit a tax return then you should not submit one."

Now, if as he claims he requires explicit permission from me, how was he able to file tax returns for me in previous years, he never requested permission for those? Also, he has never asked me before if HMRC has sent a letter requesting a self assessment, he has just got on and filed it. In any event, could he have checked with HMRC earlier and avoid missing the deadline?

Any assistance with my query greatly appreciated. My accountant is a great guy we have good working relationship, but I just get the feeling he is spinning the situation.

Many thanks.
 

kirby

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The questions you posed in the 5th paragraph are good questions to pose to him. You deserve to get an answer and one that he should support with snippets from the CRA website and not "cause I said so".
Over and above that, he knows you might have needed to file by January 31 and he did nothing to check with you to ensure you were going to be OK.
There are a lot of "great guy" accountants out there. Go find another one.
 
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Thank you kindly for your response. I think my problem is that I am not well enough versed in accounting to categorically refute him. Ideally if someone on this forum has good knowledge in this area they could either lend credence to or reject his reasons. Perhaps I'll call HMRC regarding the letter, the permission issue I can put to him directly.

But as you say, by him the placing responsibility elsewhere, ultimately it looks like I will end up with paying the late submission penalty if one levied.

I'll certainly take your advice on board when querying him further. Gives me a bit ammunition so to speak.
 
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When you first acquire the services of an accountant, you give him permission to deal with your tax affairs by signing a form 64-8. That is his authorisation from you to act on your behalf.

Due to new Data Privacy, Money Laundering and probably other regulatory requirements, there may be some additional authorisations required from you..............but think that's unlikely to stop him knowing if you need to file a tax return. If you've been charged the £100 for failure to submit a return on time, deduct it from his fees and find another accountant!
 

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