What you describe in your first sentence is book-keeping. I restrict use of my accountant to just filling out my return from the figures I give him.
Yes. The deadline is an issue, by the time I get motivated enough it is already too late to hand over all papers to my accountant at his busiest time of the year and expect him to get my return in on time. So I do the books myself (essential for a full understanding of my position, I believe) and then pass on the results to my accountant to fill out the return.
This means any questions arising within HMRC are directed to my accountant before me and only once in 30 years has he ever had to refer anything to me for subsequent follow-ups. And that turned out to be nothing more than his and HMRC’s failure to understand First Direct is a wholly owned subsiduary of HSBC (then Midland bank).
In other words, a random and independent search of banks by the then Inland Revenue uncovered an amount of interest paid to me from ‘Midland bank’. When they checked against my tax return they saw no Midland Bank interest declared and failed to note the amount involved was exactly the same amount I had declared coming from First Direct - which presumably they had no separate notice from with regard to interest, which should have been a clue. First Direct had replied to their random enquiry on Midland Bank headed note paper.
Of course, being very cunning, they never mentioned the name of the bank involved, or indeed what part of my return was apparently wrong. Which is how they work, in the hope you declare something new that they had missed.
Only after some hints my accountant managed to get out of them did I ask him to make clear to them that First Direct and Midland Bank were the same organisation. At no point did they make clear that everything was ok and left the threat of a ‘full and comprehensive review of your financial affairs’ hanging in the air. The latter message was left on my answerphone, appatrently they hired Vincent Price to leave it. I wish i had kept a recording.
As I am always meticuolus in my returns I knew they were wrong from the start, but after a few weeks even I started to question if I had some forgotten account somewhere paying a’significant amount’ of interest. By that time my accountant was 90% convinced I was hiding something from him, which pissed me off.
Anyway, once I had notified them about Midland Bank and its subsiduaries I never heard from them again except for standard notifications.