Choosing the wrong accountant is an easy way to end up in the taxman's bad books. You don't even have to fall for a scammer to end up paying off HMRC penalties. If your accountant doesn't have the grounding it takes to make the best of a CIS tax return, you're asking for trouble. At the very least, you're probably paying more tax than you owe.
Under the Construction Industry Scheme, 1 out of every 5 pounds is taken out of workers' pay before they even get it. Although the scheme was brought in for good reasons, it also led to a lot of people losing out unfairly to the taxman. If your accountant isn't a CIS specialist, or you try to do it on your own, chances are you're costing yourself serious money. Paying too much tax is a waste. Paying too little can be a lot worse.
It’s one thing, although maybe a costly one, if your accountant is simply lacking specialist knowledge, but the really nasty problems start when the person you thought was there to help turns out to be a scammer.
Here are some warning signs to watch out for:
· Did your tax adviser fail to show you a calculation of your refund?
· Did he "forget" to give you a copy of your tax return?
· Do the expenses claimed not match your receipts? Did your adviser even ask for receipts?
· Did the letter explaining the fee you'd be paying somehow never turn up?
· Does your adviser prefer “a nod and a handshake” over a written record of your arrangement?
If you're hearing alarm bells in your head as you read those questions, you need to take action before the taxman does. Remember, HMRC will never cheat you – but they expect the same courtesy from you. If you're not 100% sure your adviser's on the level, walk away. Always measure twice, because you only get to cut once.
If your accountant sends in a claim in your name, though, it's legally your problem when it's challenged. By that time, of course, your adviser's nowhere to be found and you're stuck with a penalty or worse
If you feel like you're stepping into a minefield, then you're half-right. You're still better off getting professional advice when you make a refund claim.
The point is, when you're picking an accountant, you've got to know who you're talking to. Not every adviser's going to have your best interests at heart. Even those who do may simply not be up to the job. CIS taxes are complicated, and it takes an expert to get the most out of them. Do yourself a huge favour and talk to a specialist.
Source of information: Rift Tax Refund
"The Construction Industry Scheme was designed to clamp down on tax evasion but it hasnt stopped scammers coming out the woodwork to take advantage of those CIS workers who dont know the rules"
Bradley Post, Managing Director Rift Tax Refunds
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