HM Revenue and Customs has released a comprehensive series of toolkits for tax agents and advisers. Each one is designed to help people avoid the most common mistakes made by those managing businesses’ tax affairs.
It’s a well known fact that people make the same errors time and time again, repeating their own and each other’s mistakes as common stumbling blocks catch them out. Recognising this fact, HMRC has decided to provide specific guidance to help those filing business tax returns avoid the most frequently made (and sometimes costly) mistakes. The resulting toolkits cover such topics as business profits, Capital Gains Tax, capital v revenue expenditure, expenses and benefits, chargeable gains and company losses. Some of the toolkits are focused on helping those operating in one or two particular industries, such as the capital allowances for plant and machinery toolkit and the Capital Gains Tax for land and buildings toolkit. There are also three toolkits created specifically for those dealing with tax affairs relating to trusts and estates: the Capital Gains Tax for trusts and estates supplementary toolkit, the HMRC trusts and estate toolkit and the HMRC Inheritance Tax toolkit.
Each one of these documents is designed to help users ensure their returns are correctly completed. The toolkits’ format has three key elements. These are a checklist to highlight common areas where errors are made, carefully written explanatory notes on how to avoid errors (including notes about the tax treatment itself) and cross references to help you access the relevant help published online. Depending on how confident you are in dealing with tax matters you can use the toolkits as solid checklists or simply to refresh your current systems. They can also be used as training aids for employees looking to take on more responsibility in this area. Of course, any given organisation will only need to reference some of the toolkits.
The HMRC toolkits are free to download here.