Tax planning advice is an essential part of managing your taxes. Good tax planning advice can help you substantially reduce tax liabilities and defer tax payments. The tax planning advice you need will depend on your particular circumstances and how complicated your financial affairs are.
Basic tax planning advice should be part of routine accountancy services: for example, if you use an accountant to handle your corporation tax or income tax self-assessment and VAT returns. You should check what expertise your accountants have and what sort of tax planning they are providing as part of these services.
Tax planning advice on other personal tax issues - such as tax-efficient savings or inheritance tax planning - may be offered as an additional service. Alternatively, you might want to take tax planning advice in these areas from a suitably qualified independent financial adviser. Again, you will need to confirm what expertise they have to know whether they can provide the right tax planning advice.
If there are substantial sums of money involved and complex tax issues, you may want to take specialist tax planning advice. This might include tax planning advice from specialists within your existing accountants and from others such as tax lawyers. Bear in mind that specialist tax advisers generally charge substantially higher rates than other advisers.
An initial tax planning advice session should allow you and your advisers to assess the scale of the opportunity. An introductory tax planning advice discussion may well be offered free of charge.
Make sure you understand what tax planning advice will cost and the likely tax savings. If you are using tax planning advice specialists, you’ll also need to sort out how they will work with your existing advisers.
Ideally, you should aim to build a continuing relationship that will provide ongoing tax planning advice. There may be occasions when one-off specialist tax planning advice is required - for example, in connection with corporate finance transactions or selling a business - but even then you’ll want to plan well in advance. Effective tax planning needs to look at your overall tax position and the long-term consequences, so the way your tax planning advice is organised should reflect this.