Tax advice: What is it & How do you know what you need?

what is tax advice and how do you now what you need?- Ascott Blake

Something we can be guilty of as professional advisors, is assuming how much our clients know about the services we offer. This is particularly true with tax services. Tax is incredibly vast and complicated.

It interconnects into so many different aspects of business and life.

What you might not know is that Chartered Tax Advisers have a completely separate qualification to accountants.

The subject is that extensive, it is a specialist area in its own right, and accountants will range from general tax knowledge, to niche in areas of tax, through to Chartered Tax Advisor.

However, most – if not all – accountants provide tax compliance services. These are the services you need to ensure you pay the right amount of tax your business owes.

It’s the bare minimum of tax services that you will need. But what about tax advice?

Read on to find out what exactly tax advice is and how to access the tax advice you need.

What exactly is tax advice?

Advice generally falls into one of two categories: corporate (for businesses) or individual (for personal).

But put simply, tax advice is the delivery of some work or planning to help improve a client’s tax position; to make a future saving or get cash back into their business.

You’ll often see accountants specialising in certain areas that are more likely to be relevant to their customers, for example VAT, R&D Tax Relief, or International tax.

Our areas of tax advice

At Ascott Blake, we can handle your specialist tax advice needs and issues, no matter the subject or complexity.

Here’s a quick look at the top level of categories of tax advice we provide:

Getting the tax advice you need

When it comes to getting the tax advice you need, this is where it starts to get complicated. You may have a good idea of what you are looking for, and feel confident simply telling us the area of tax you need support with.

However, this isn’t common, when a client identifies a problem they want help with, it tends to look something like this, in order to find the solution.

tax advice solutions- Ascott Blake Tax Advisors

To find an appropriate solution, we’ll need to go through at least one, or potentially all four of the above steps.

Which route we take will depend on:

  • How the issue was identified
  • The complexity of the planning needed
  • Timescales
  • And many other variables

It’s rare for us to jump straight to a specific piece of single tax advice. We always start by undertaking a thorough piece of diagnosis and review, to determine exactly what is required.

For us, we believe this is vital to ensure you arrive at the correct course of action.

It’s important to us you feel empowered to make the right decision, for such an important and complex topic – and diagnostic consultancy is the only way to achieve this.

It’s a bit like seeking private medical help. The consultant may need to carry out a series of diagnostics and scans prior to clearly setting out three remedial courses of action for the patient to consider, recommending the alternative merits of each.

The consultant may then reach a conclusion because of other motives.

Different levels of tax advice complexity

When you approach us with a tax issue or goal, we have developed a system for categorising the complexity of the case. This helps to set expectations, giving you an idea of the timescales in play and the next steps.

We’ve found that for most scenarios there are three levels of complexity:

01 - Complex

These enquires are usually for a commoditised area of Tax Advice e.g. certain VAT schemes or Company Share Option Plan.

Minimum 15 working days from enquiry to delivery.

02 - Very Complex

These enquiries include bespoke areas of Tax Advice where it's clear the immediate answer isn't obvious e.g. proper portfolio planning.

Minimum 18 working days from enquiry to delivery.

03 - Extremely Complex

These enquiries include highly bespoke areas of Tax Advice where the suggested planning crosses over multiple taxes or tax areas.

Minimum 20 working days from enquiry to delivery.

Each complexity level varies when it comes to the fact finding, diagnosis and recommendation of appropriate tax planning to address a client problem or scenario.

Expert tax advice when you need it

There’s no getting away from the complexity of tax, but it can be managed. We’ve launched a new service to handle our client specialist tax advisory needs and issues, no matter how complex.

Our alternative approach to Tax Advice and Consultancy, means we can accurately identify the advice you need, giving you the results you wanted.

You can find out more about our Tax Advice & Consultancy service here.

Need tax advice?

If you think you might need tax advice, fill out our enquiry form here with as much information as possible and we’ll be in touch.


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