During 2013 Bettertax voluntarily went through a rigorous and thorough vetting by HMRC. Senior inspectors visited our offices and went through what we do with a fine tooth comb.
It was difficult and arduous but the end result is this:
“I am happy to say that the revised pre-return processes and procedures, will indeed put Bettertax in a much better position to ensure accurate Returns”
HM Inspector of Taxes
We can happily and proudly say that our working practices and standards are approved by HMRC and we are now identified as one of very few tax agents considered ‘Low Risk’, meaning very few tax agents can offer better security for our clients’ refund claims or tax returns than us.
The reason we are writing about this here is two-fold. It’s a piece of brilliant news for us and our clients and it also gives us a platform to warn of the perils of using unscrupulous tax agents who have not been through this process.
We wrote a blog about High Volume High Risk Tax Agents and HMRC a few weeks ago. How many of you have been on site and “matey” comes along and says (spiv style), “I’ll do your tax return for £50.” He offers you a fantastic refund based on mystical expenses (“it’s OK, no one will ever know”). He tells you that you need no evidence of journeys or tools bought (“it’s OK, no one will ever check”). Of course it’s tempting.
We’re here to tell you though, that anyone who says your tax return claim needs no receipts is misinforming you at the very least. Your tax refund (if you’re CIS you’ll be after one or PAYE with work related expenses – sorry sole traders, you generally owe tax!) will be paid out on the assumption you can evidence it/ prove it. A year or so later HMRC may well randomly pull your file for closer inspection. If that tax return cannot be backed up, you will have to pay back the rebate.
Not only that, “matey” will be long gone. He’ll have had your £50 along with all your mates on site. Imagine all the sites he visited during a tax year… well, you get the picture.
We actually were talking yesterday about a chap who just registered with us recently, who we first encountered 2 years ago. At that time he was being hit by HMRC for a massive amount of money because his “tax agent” had done a runner with his refund. It’s quite a long story but needless to say, this tax agent then employed a big criminal case lawyer, employed a forensic accountant and managed to get HMRC on the ropes to the point that the case against the tax agent was dropped.
The tax agent got off scot free (despite having a criminal record for previous frauds) and the client is left in a very bad predicament.
These tax agents are out there unfortunately. Despite us warning people, they will still go to an agent who offers a big, dubious refund for sometimes a smaller fee… although in this case the fee turned out to be in excess of 80% on a very made up rebate amount. Quite shocking.
So when you are looking for a tax agent or accountant it might be worth checking how they do their business for you. Oh.. and keep all your receipts and bank statements – makes it all so much easier!
www.bettertax.org 01280 821020