Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Taxman Wants to Get Up Close and Personal; Victoria Whitlock Throws in the Towel and Hires an Accountant When HMRC Demands Four Extra Tax Reports a Year from landlordsThe Accidental Landlord

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Taxman Wants to Get Up Close and Personal; Victoria Whitlock Throws in the Towel and Hires an Accountant When HMRC Demands Four Extra Tax Reports a Year from landlordsThe Accidental Landlord

Article excerpt

Byline: Victoria Whitlock

AFTER decades of managing my own tax affairs, stumbling my way through the annual return at the end of every January, ferreting through the piles of paper under my desk trying to find discarded receipts and going crosseyed trying to fathom out which figures to put in which boxes, I have decided to appoint an accountant. It feels like a pretty grown-up decision, like I'm finally admitting that I am running a proper business.

My decision to take on professional help has been prompted by HMRC, which has announced that in future landlords will have to file quarterly "updates". So instead of sending in just one tax return every year, we'll also have to send four extra reports.

If I've correctly understood HMRC's proposals, we'll have to keep digital records of our income and expenditure, using an app or software provided by the tax office, and submit "updates" about four weeks after the end of each quarter. So, if your tax year starts on April 6, your first quarter will end on July 5 and you'll have to submit a report to HMRC by August 5, then again on November 5, February 5 and May 5.

The taxman has sugar-coated the proposals by claiming that regular reporting by landlords will lead to us making fewer mistakes, which in turn will mean fewer of us will end up being investigated by HMRC. Hmmm. I think what he means is that it will be harder for landlords to cheat, to claim they "forgot" to declare any cash-in-hand rental income they took almost two years previously, and for HMRC to pounce on any errors. It claims that, currently, PS8 billion tax a year is lost due to "avoidable taxpayer errors".

As a taxpayer I approve of any new initiative to make sure everyone else pays their fair share and personally I do think it will be better to know roughly how much tax I owe throughout the year so I avoid a nasty shock when the final bill comes through. …

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