Preparing Manx tax returns: not always straightforward

Friday 28 September 2018

We sat down with Alison Quayle, Senior Tax Administrator at Equiom Solutions, to discuss life as a tax professional, what’s in store for the industry and some helpful hints for filling out your return.

What is your current role? 

I am a Senior Tax Administrator specialising in compliance within the Equiom Solutions tax team. I deal mainly with Isle of Man and UK resident clients advising on, and assisting with, their personal tax affairs.

How long have you worked in tax and what led you to this particular career path? 

I joined the Income Tax Office (now the Income Tax Division) of the Isle of Man Government on leaving school in 1977. After almost 10 years working on both company and personal tax matters, I left the government and moved into the private sector, where I was instrumental in setting up a tax department at J G Fargher & Co as it was at the time.

After taking a break for a few years while my children were young, I joined PKF as a part time tax administrator. In the almost 20 years since then I have greatly expanded both my client portfolio and my technical knowledge. In 2013 our team joined global professional services provider Equiom Group, and we now deal with an even broader range of clients.

What are you working on right now and what’s coming up next? 

With the initial deadline for the submission of Manx personal tax returns on 6 October, our team is currently focusing on the preparation of Manx personal tax returns for both resident and non-resident tax clients for the year ended 5th April 2018. Our next priority will be the preparation of UK self-assessment returns for clients with a UK filing requirement. The deadline for the submission of these returns is 31st January 2019.

In addition to preparation for these deadlines we have the ongoing task of looking after general tax compliance for clients, and dealing with any questions or queries – whether raised by clients themselves or by the Manx or UK tax authorities - in relation to clients’ affairs. We also advise clients on the tax implications of major life events as they arise, such as relocation to or from the Isle of Man, retirement, marriage, death and estate planning. We are certainly kept busy throughout the year!  

What are some common challenges for local residents when filling out their tax returns?

Firstly, it can often be difficult for some taxpayers to gather the relevant information in order to accurately prepare their tax returns. These days, as so much information from banks, investments and so on is predominantly available online it can be easy to miss a piece of information or an income figure when scrolling online statements.

Once the information has been obtained, the tax return completion process is not always straightforward and many taxpayers are unaware of the types of income which must be reported and the range of tax reliefs available. Failure to declare all income correctly may result in interest and penalty charges when any omissions come to light. 

In your opinion, what are the most important qualities for a good tax adviser?

Patience, tenacity, teamwork, communication skills and attention to detail. Fortunately, we have a great team at Equiom and we are constantly communicating and working together on a number of projects.

What are the most stimulating aspects of your role?

I particularly enjoy dealing directly with clients, whether face-to-face or over the phone. I also feel a sense of achievement from being able to assist people in bringing their tax affairs up to date – and keeping them that way!

What has been the most marked change in local tax over the past 5 years?

Many of the changes in Manx personal tax over the last few years have in fact been fairly gradual – with a move towards online reporting and correspondence, annual increases in personal allowances, and reductions in certain reliefs available such as for interest paid.

What do you think we can expect in the world of tax over the next 5 – 10 years? 

I expect these gradual changes to continue, eventually resulting in a system where interest reliefs and some other tax reducers will have been phased out completely.

Finally, can you leave us with some top tips for filling out your tax return? 

  • Gather your tax return information together before you start
  • Identify any gaps, so that you can obtain any missing data in time to fully complete the return in one sitting, if at all possible.    
  • Check that you have considered all sources of income to ensure that your return is fully compliant with IOM tax legislation. This can include, for example, income which may have been taxed at source, ISA income, etc.
  • Don’t leave it too late! You may have missing information where you need to contact relevant authorities and request it. This could take time, so make sure you allow for it.

For help with preparing your Manx personal tax return contact Alison 

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