Mukesh Patel is unhappy with a bill he received from his accountant following a VAT inspection. He has used this accountant for 11 years, paying £1,400 for his yearly accounts plus an accountancy fee of £178 and £150 for his self-assessment. So when the VAT man wanted to inspect the books, Mukesh thought the accountant would produce some up-to-date figures. Mukesh studied law in Gudjurat and also got a Bachelor of Commerce degree there.

So, when he was then charged a further £600 it was his considered opinion that he was paying twice for the same work. I rang the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants where Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of tax, said that inspectors will often ask for invoices and credit notes, lists of suppliers and so on, which add up to a number of tests of the integrity of the business, but increase the amount of work required from the accountant.

“So it’s good practice,” he said, “for businesses to consider taking out insurance against inspections.” I have advised Mukesh that he is entitled to a thorough breakdown of the extra work that his accountant is claiming to have done, along with diary dates.