Small errors can mean big tax problems for professionals

Small errors can mean big tax problems
By Alex Burden, Professional Development

21 April 2017

When considering the key skills and knowledge essential for your tax role, do you plan for how to achieve strategic goals and guard against potential problems?

The UK tax regime is both complex and constantly evolving, and staying on top of important changes has become a driving force in professional development for chartered accountants. 

Accountants and CAs will often be faced with busy periods that coincide with important changes to the tax system, so staying ahead of the curve becomes a time-pressured activity. 

An article for Hiscox Insurance by Karen Eckstein, legal director at law firm Bond Dickson, highlighted the small errors that can result in big problems - and no tax professional is immune.

She pointed to unorganised notes and receipts in disarray leading to complications for tax professionals, or the omission of key information resulting in penalties for the taxpayer rather than the accountant. 

A case in point included an accountant believing that a tranche of client paperwork related to one investment rather than three separate investments, and the client did not pick up on the mistake. In the end, HMRC imposed a penalty on the customer for 'careless behaviour', and they, in turn, sued the accountant. 

Future-proofing through development

If you're new to VAT or looking to bolster your knowledge in tax planning for a specialist role, then it's always useful to take a day or two each year and dedicate it to upskilling - and it could safeguard against larger issues in the long run. 

Training can be achieved through relevant webinars and e-learning provided by HMRC, such as their Agent toolkits, or even watching helpful videos such as that prepared by the UK Tax Academy:

Whether you have worked in tax for a while, it's a new aspect of your role, or you're considering a career in tax, then Tax Update for the busy accountant works with you to consider key points from recent UK budgets and outlines the changes to capital allowances, expenses, corporation tax, personal and employee taxes and Capital Gains.

The course is continually updated to reflect additions to the tax code and ensure accountants have all the tools they need at their disposal.

If you're searching for high-level learning on VAT in a one-day session, VAT Pitfalls and Planning prepares you for possible actions that could be taken by businesses to reduce VAT exposure and the main areas of cost.

The course is intended for accountants and other tax staff or business advisers who are likely to be consulted on exemptions, cash flow planning, tax recovery and minimisation, capital goods, and recent VAT cases for knowledge in action.

If you want to stay ahead of the industry, then consider VAT Pitfalls and Planning and Tax Update for the busy accountant.


  • Career development
  • Tax
  • Training courses

Previous Page