When many of your clients are struggling with the effects of COVID-19 on their businesses and their personal lives it is hardly surprising that providing you with details for the 2020 tax return is way down on their list of priorities.
It is doubtful that the threat of an impending deadline and a £100 fine will change this response.
In which case, what can practitioners do to smooth the flow of information in order that they complete this filing task, reduce their work-in-progress and all without adding unduly to their clients’ stress and anxiety?
One avenue to explore is the professions’ natural antagonist, HMRC. HMRC are informed of basic data from employers and banks for example. The agents help line may not provide a direct response to practitioners, but HMRC are willing to send copy P60s to clients; who will hopefully pass this on to you for processing.
Another useful idea may be to prepare a composite list of clients and a bullet point list of outstanding information required and make sure that receptionists and client mangers have a copy. When speaking with clients they can then quickly scan the list and add a gentle reminder as part of their conversation.
One of the issues with unrelenting stress is that it leaves us will no reserves in the tank. The smallest increment to an already overworked nervous system may provoke a response that only a year ago may have been unthinkable.
All we can do is continue with our commitment to keep clients advised and compliant. Part of this may be to keep clients informed of the consequences of non-compliance. Certainly, Informanagement will do its part in the coming weeks to ensure that your subscriber newsfeeds contain a countdown towards the filing deadline and the penalties that will be levied if these are ignored.
No one doubts that practitioners are exempt from the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. Supporting clients and keeping a weather eye on their own, sometimes precarious position, is adding to the annual filing rush as we approach the 31 January deadline.
If we can provide additional content in our newsfeeds to ease this process for either party please contact our office. Our editorial team will be happy to include any relevant copy if this helps you during the coming weeks.