Too many deadlines

I received a request from a client the other day, who asked me if I would schedule out for him all the different filing requirements and deadlines that he needed to be aware of.  

I initially thought this was a little OTT, but as I pulled this information together, I realised how many tax plates a business (with the help of its advisors) needs to keep spinning nowadays.  When you add into this penalties for late (or incomplete) returns, suddenly you realise just how challenging  keeping a company’s tax compliance up to date is !

This client is not an overly complex business but on counting up there were no fewer than nine different deadlines (even ignoring their VAT compliance requirements) based around both the company’s accounting year end and the tax year end (i.e. 5th April). This number could easily be exceeded by a firm when considering the entity’s specific activities and structure. 

Where a compliance deadline is based around a company year end, the annual accounts preparation procedure gives a defined timeline for the process.  What is harder for companies to track are returns that are based around the tax year end.  These tend to be the employee compliance-based forms such as P11ds and PSAs, as well as employment related security forms, for example the snappily titled “Other Employment Related Securities Schemes and Arrangements: end of year return template”(the form formerly known as form 42).  

As these returns are based on a tax year end and not an accounts year end, letting your tax advisor know of any relevant changes post accounts year end is crucial so they can tell you what filings are required.

The unpleasant thing about these tax year based end of year returns is that their filing date is generally early July, so this only gives you 3 months to file them.  

If we take a pretty common and simple scenario: a new company is set up which does not yet have a payroll, but has transferred shares between directors after its trade has commenced so that a form 42 is then required.  It may not intend to run a payroll for the first year, but will now have to set one up in order to file the form 42.  HMRC are currently quoting six weeks to open a new payroll scheme.  Only once this payroll is set up can the “unapproved share scheme” be registered on the HMRC gateway in order to create a form 42 for filing. Suddenly you can see how the three month deadline can be quite tight.

I naturally prepared the list of deadlines for my client, and we were of course on top of them all, but even as someone trained and working in the tax environment daily it bought home to me how complex compliance now is. So this exercise is on my list to repeat again in future because it was certainly a useful aide memoire that emphatically set out the full extent of the regime we have to operate in.

For help on tax compliance matters or indeed advice on other tax complexities please contact our Tax Director Mary Tierney on 01606 721300