Not sure what to charge?

sasahdeasey Registered Posts: 11 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

I qualified in August and one of my husband's friends has just set himself up as a sole trader doing some consultancy work, in addition to his full-time role where he pays tax through PAYE.

He has asked for my assistance in completing his tax return and offering some tax advice, nothing too in-depth, what he can claim etc.

He is doing his own invoicing and maintaining a spreadsheet showing the values invoiced/paid.

He is happy to negotiate on how much I charge to do his return - I obviously don't want to overcharge him since this is my first time doing this and I have no experience, but at the same time don't want to charge £50 and it turns out it takes me 3 days!

Was just hoping for some advice really - what's an appropriate amount to charge for this kind of service? Is there anything I need to know that's really important and it's possible I've overseen as a newbie?

Thanks in advance,



  • Gem7321
    Gem7321 MAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,438
    Sorry to be blunt but if you have no experience I don't think you should be charging anything :confused1:

    Have you read the MiP regulations and guidelines?
  • Newbie
    Newbie Registered Posts: 229 ? ? ?
    I'm afraid I have to agree with Gem, if you have no experience, I know very little about electrics so I always leave it to an experienced professional
  • sasahdeasey
    sasahdeasey Registered Posts: 11 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
    Well we all have to start somewhere don't we?

    I may have no experience but I'm Level 4 qualified and did Personal and Business Tax as my options so it's not like I'm not qualified for the job. I'll be giving up my time so I don't see why I shouldn't charge for it?
  • stevo5678
    stevo5678 Registered Posts: 325
    Well we all have to start somewhere don't we?

    I may have no experience but I'm Level 4 qualified and did Personal and Business Tax as my options so it's not like I'm not qualified for the job. I'll be giving up my time so I don't see why I shouldn't charge for it?

    I see both sides here.

    However I have to say that alot of people do AAT and then go on their own without what consider sufficient experience within practice.

    As long as you are confident on what actions you are taking and perhaps run it past a few people on here aswell then I don't see a huge issue.

    Everyhting needs to start from somewhere as you quite rightly state...

    Good luck
  • deanshepherd
    deanshepherd Registered Posts: 1,809
    As it is a family friend, I would be open with him and say this is not something you have any practical experience of doing for yourself but you have studied the theory and know the right places to ask for backup.

    You could then say that a typical fee for a qualified professional would be around £600 so you will do it for half that cost.

    As long as your friend is fully aware of the situation then you can both sleep at night.

    Unfortunately doing the Personal and Business Tax units of AAT does not qualify you for anything.
  • Antoinnette
    Antoinnette Registered Posts: 118 ? ? ?
    I may be completely wrong but I don't think every MIP has absolutely all the practical experience in the world before they start charging people for the work they have done. When I started charging people for bookkeeping all I has to me name was my Pitman certificates and I can say for the past six years I haven't made any major bookkeeping mistakes. Not that bookkeeping and tax are one and the same thing:001_smile:

    Self Assessment returns are not rocket science. The HMRC website is crammed full of manuals, checklists etc for doing them. And a good number of self employed people do it themselves without the help of an accountant.

    To answer your question, I would echo what Dean has said and you need to triple check every entry twice and if there is anything you are not comfortable doing then ask someone with more experience. And use the HMRC checklist so you don't miss anything. Read the manuals as well. And its a good idea to join as a registered MIP to give you time to get some experience before you get a license. And get an engagement letter and PI in place even if its just for your friend. And a mentor whiles you are at it.

    £50 is too low and £600 too high. Put yourself in his shoes and think how much would he be happy to pay and still accomodate mistakes if they do arise and charge that. It might take you three days to get it right but that's all part of the experience isn't it? And when you do it a few times it would take you less time to do it and will become more profitable.
    Good luck with it
  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    It is a difficult situation but experience is very much the key not necessarily the qualification. If you are going to do the work then they really should know about your lack of experience.

    If this was selling your services to the public then I would say don't do it and try and get some experience.

    My charges would be more like £250-£300 to give you a guide.

  • Paul C
    Paul C Registered Posts: 193 ? ? ?
    Hi Sasha,

    Is the real long term benefit for you of doing this work the experience rather than the profit? I'd say do a token charge (if at all) and put the experience gained first? Assuming you can afford to of course (personal circumstances and all that). And also follow the great advice above about MIP reg's and what you tell the client. Give the AAT MIP team a phone call?

    Good luck
  • oibbotson
    oibbotson Registered Posts: 8 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
    There are a lot of extremely unhelpful answers on here. To the person above who suggesting following the guidance and running it past people on here, that would be a breach of confidentiality and is against ethical and morale guidelines. Discussing a hypothetical case relating to a real case or the case itself is worse than making an error and will erode trust in the client of the industry.

    MIP's have to start somewhere, and providing the protections are in place such as MLR and PI and the MIP guidelines are followed then there should be no reason why this person should not take on her first client. This is a time to celebrate with her, that another accountant has gone into business having completed her AAT exams.

    I have seen lots of you suggest experience is the key to Tax. It's not. I'm sorry - Tax is complicated and to be perfectly honest nothing less than dedicated study will get you there, its about knowledge and understanding, not simply about experience filling in the form. SA's are not rocket science, but they can become complicated depending on the nature and size of a clients affairs. There is lots of guidance for these on the HMRC website and HMRC make it very clear that most people should be able to do their own tax return.

    Personally I think the OP should go for it and charge a reasonable fee to cover her costs. If she likes it maybe she will go onto ATT and start on the path to becoming a real expert, simply because we don't have enough of them.

    I know this post was made a couple of years ago, and it would be good to hear how she is doing now :)
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