Some four years ago, rumours began circulating that an accountant specialising in media freelancers had been raided by HMRC. It was true: HMRC confiscated all the company’s files, whether paper or on computer, and started writing to all the company’s clients insisting that they had been underpaying tax for years and must now review their accounts.
Unbelievably, the case continues. A trial which ended four months ago resulted in a hung jury on the substantive points and HMRC is believed to be preparing to retry the case. We have not named the company because of the ongoing legal action.
The Watercooler became the only permanent source of advice and support for around 4000-5000 clients, and a community of wonderful accountants quickly grew up offering their services. BECTU stepped in and funded a public meeting which drew hundreds of frightened freelancers, and a few accountants and tax experts took up the challenge of representing them.
Most of the discussions and other information still exists on the Watercooler, but to avoid the risk of contempt of court the crucial material has been moved to secure areas and is accessible only to registered members. However we believe that most of the people who needed advice and support have already joined so they should have access to the areas they need.
We will be compiling an easy list of the accountants who posted their details on the old Cooler so that anyone hoping to find a media-savvy accountant can easily do so, so please do check back.