Advisers in a spin over SA deadlines

The government’s decision to move back self-assessment filing dates has
provoked a lively debate amongst advisers on

Stuart Carpenter welcomed the move, which will see paper tax returns filed at
the end of September and online returns at the end of November: ‘I welcome a
move to an earlier deadline – however hard we try, many clients are only spurred
into providing their information by the knowledge that the deadline is near – we
will end up doing most of the work in the last six weeks whatever date is set.
By January, they have forgotten or lost half the information, and we have had
our Christmas spoiled. I’ll be glad to get it out of the way in the autumn and
go skiing,’ he wrote.

Not everyone agrees. Anthony Thorne wrote: ‘We already lose the first three
months waiting for employment details. We currently only get ten months less
three, eg seven months to do the returns, and Revenue get 12 to look at them.
Perhaps the deadline for looking at the returns should be shortened to ten

MJ Hewitt agreed the move would cause problems: ‘Even if clients get their
records in on time, how are sole practitioners meant to get all of their
client’s tax returns out in time. I am afraid that I will probably lose out. The
Indian and other foreign-based accountants who charge a pittance for their
services will make a fortune. This is the enterprise chancellor. Putting
pressure on the self-employed to get their returns in earlier is not going to
aid enterprise.’

Bill Osborne said the complaints against the move were ‘pathetic’: ‘In
Brazil, a supposedly under-developed country, the deadline is just under four
months from the year-end, which is 31 December for tax purposes. If their
accounting profession can do it, why can’t ours?’

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