Do you want to risk getting your tax wrong, and possibly incurring penalties or even getting a criminal record? Or worry about what is due to happen when, what you should be paying and whether that tax demand is correct, or whether you’ve set your business up in the most efficient way?
Peace of mind
As an accountant, I want to sell peace of mind to my clients. Yes, I deal with all the technical worries that have taken years of training to get to grips with, but that is taken as a given for a professional person. What I really want to achieve is clients who know what records they need to keep and when they need to give them to me, with that being the entire extent of their worries, leaving me to deal with the rest. OK, I accept I’ve a way to go, and writing this 7 days before the tax return deadline, I still have a handful of ‘head in the sand’ clients who’ve not given me any information at all; no matter how good your accountant, we’re not clairvoyant!
From a technical point of view, an experienced accountant will be able to advise about your tax and finances; not just the black and white rules, but how they affect you and the way you personally work. They’ll be able to register you with HMRC, ensure you meet deadlines, warn you of tax liabilities and generally deal with the day to day tax work.
In doing that, they’ll protect you from making claims you shouldn’t and ensure that you do make the claims you should. They’ll make sure that you don’t overpay things like national insurance or student loan repayments.
A specialist accountant will also understand the NHS pension scheme and what you need to do in terms of paying contributions, completing pension certificates, checking you don’t exceed the annual allowance and other financial intricacies of the pension scheme that can affect your tax too.
They’ll also be available to bounce ideas off: if you’re thinking about doing something different in your profession, such as partnership vs freelance, or if you’re thinking about going overseas (temporarily, on a secondment or permanently), or if you’re thinking about a total career change. Or for simpler questions like what’s the tax effect of changing the car?
They’ll be able to advise your whole family: how your parents’ Wills might affect you for example.What happens if your parents give you money to buy a bigger house, and then move in with you later?!
Having an accountant who knows you over the years will allow them to be able to see the bigger picture and proactively advise you at each stage of your life from claiming relief for your exam fees before you complete your training, right through to looking after your tax affairs in retirement.
As busy GPs, you have enough stress in your lives; delegate worrying about tax to an accountant!
Liz Densley is medical specialist partner with Sussex Chartered Accountants, Honey Barrett, and is secretary of AISMA (the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants). Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.