The Practitioner: Government-subsidised tax advice please?

by Kevin Reed

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25 Jul 2014

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YOU KNOW YOU NEED an air-con unit in the office when...you are sat at your desk, typing an email, and sweat is dripping down your face.

I've given in to the requests of the staff and ordered a few mobile units from Argos, but at £260 each, and a three-to-five day delivery time, that's definitely this year's staff Christmas party put on ice.

One issue that makes me sweat just thinking about it is the news this week that the government are to ensure all pensioners have access to free financial advice when it comes time for them to look at their pension options.

I'm all for the recent changes in the pension laws and I'm even pleased that free advice will be offered. We have our own financial services arm to the practice so we are keen to see how this is going to work in reality.

Will it be similar to legal aid? Will the government subsidise the advice by way of grants to all participating firms or is it going to be a chosen few firms that receive all the funding?

It makes me wonder whether this time of funded advice could make it's way into accountancy practices at anytime soon.

Surely the government has a duty to ensure that good advice is given to everyone, and would it not therefore make sense to offer this advice to business owners before they actually reach retirement age?

I know most business owners have accountants already, but how many don't? And for those that do, surely they would love to receive a ‘free tax return' from the government every year.

Our practice would not complain if the government decided to subsidise all our tax return services every year, in fact it would help cashflow massively.

They had Legal Aid, they are now talking about Financial Services Aid, now let's see some Accountancy/Tax Aid please.

The Practitioner's uncensored thoughts come from within their own practice - having left a regional firm in the heart of England

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