The current economic climate means that Chartered Tax Advisers (CTAs) are spending more time helping their struggling clients, according to a recent survey.
The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) asked a sample of members who work in professional firms with 1 – 50 staff if the current economic conditions were impacting on their business and that of their clients. 44% of members who responded said they are spending more time on helping clients who are struggling in the current climate than previously.
Nick Goulding, CIOT President, says: “The research is a snapshot of what is happening on the ground. It is clear from the results that the economic downturn is beginning to have an effect, but many of our members told us that they felt it was too early to say exactly what would happen. It is interesting that 55% were seeing an increase in billable work, while 45% had seen a reduction. One assumes from this that, while some businesses are suffering, others are proactively seeking out our members in order to ensure they receive advice from a qualified professional.”
The survey also asked how sympathetic CTAs or their clients found HMRC local or area offices regarding late tax payments. Just under a quarter of those surveyed felt HMRC were unsympathetic, while 10% have had a positive experience. Slightly more than half had yet to encounter this situation.
Nick Goulding says: “We hope that HMRC’s new ‘Business Payment Support Service’, which is aimed at those very businesses with immediate problems, will help here.”
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Notes to Editors
Questions and responses 1. Are you spending more time on the following (Please tick all that apply)
- Helping struggling clients 43%
- Pro bono work 14%
- Disengagement tasks 11%
- Not applicable, have not had this problem yet 27%
2. Overall have you had an increase or a reduction in billable work during the last month, compared to this time last year?
- Increase 55%
- Reduction 45%
3. If you or our clients have dealt with an HMRC local or area office or call centre did you find they took an understanding approach to problems of late tax payments brought about due to the economic downturn?
- Yes 10%
- No 31%
- Not applicable, have not had this problem yet 53%
- Other 6.1 %
2,700 members were contacted by email and asked to complete an online survey. 264 members responded. A response rate of almost 10% is thought to be good for this type of survey. The survey was run between 21 – 28 November during the week of the Pre-Budget Report.