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You know what?’s not your fault: All those things you’ve had to do to get where you are today…all the decisions you had to make that didn’t work out.

So maybe you should try doing this: Tell yourself today that you forgive yourself for all of the things that didn’t work out…forgive yourself but reflect on what went wrong and commit to memory the lessons you learned. And once you’ve done that remember also to congratulate yourself for the stuff that did turn out well. Then use this business-reflective-learning-cpd to set yourself up so that you can look forward to a future that doesn’t exist yet, except perhaps in your mind’s eye, but which could be even better for you and your loved ones than today really should be, given how hard you are working.

There’s something else that isn’t your fault but does affect your future: It’s the fact that we have the most complicated tax code in the world. That’s definitely not your fault. That happened partly because a series of predominantly left-wing governments who were influenced both by the wars we didn’t start yet had to fight and the injustices of the past, did things that also didn’t work out. Like you they probably did these things with good intentions… and the Civil Service and Treasury between them probably said, “…well, if that’s what you want to do then you might be able to raise a bit more money by sneaking in these stealth taxes and hoping that nobody notices. It’ll raise a bit of short-term cash to help balance the books...” And the government of the day thought “…we can’t go further than that or we’ll get booted out at the next election.” The end-result of all this was complexity in our tax system and unprecedented amounts of debt. All of this was not your fault.

And each time this happened a succession of mainly right-wing governments came along with no choice but to correct the eye-watering amounts of debt that threatened to take away the country’s right to determine its future direction. These people also had good intentions, often wanted a simpler tax code, and some of them even wanted a more just society – but they couldn’t deliver much of that because a necessary part of their job was to make the difficult decisions to bring down that debt. And the Civil Service and the Treasury probably said to these people, “…well if that’s what you want to do then you could make these selective cuts…” And these governments also thought “…we can’t go further than that or we’ll get booted out at the next election.” And all of this resulted in even more complexity in our tax system, which still wasn’t your fault.

So where does this leave you, a veterinary healthcare professional, with your hard-working today and various possible tomorrows. Just like many other private healthcare professionals it leaves you with pressures that most people don’t have to face and still with a tax situation that is only relatively simple to understand if you work in the public sector, are an employee not a business owner, don’t own your own home and have access to a public-sector pension. These options probably weren’t available to you and that’s not your fault either.

Where it also leaves you is working hours that other people don’t have to work, often for relatively modest levels of remuneration given your level of training. And like an old friend I was chatting to recently you may find yourself in a very rare idle moment wondering about how and when you’re going to retire to do whatever you want to do in your future after practice. The tax system is a mess somebody else created for you to live in. Don’t beat yourself up about it…the easiest way to look at the tax system is just a game you have to play to get the future you deserve. But to win that game you may need some professional help in just the same way people come to you to get broken legs fixed.

Unfortunately, for current and would-be business owners the tax system is so complicated that even if you spent an extra 35 hours per year of CPD on tax it would still be full of traps for those not sufficiently circumspect to look before they leap. Maximising the value of your business for sale is just part of it…making sure that you don’t get nailed for 40-50% tax or more on a large chunk of the proceeds if you don’t have to makes a very big difference. It also makes a big difference to know not just how much each exit route is going to net you after tax but how much it’s going to cost you to sell your business in terms of charges and why because when you eventually come to sell it’s likely there will be fees and hidden costs to be aware of.

One thing you can do today is to take advantage of an offer from PPS who are running a series of events, with no commitment to sign on the line. We know, because we’ve attended one of their seminars, that they know the tax system and they have committed to declare all the fees and costs. In fact, whether you’re a practice owner trying to phase yourself out, or a potential buyer trying to get in you’ would probably do well to attend; because if the current owner of the business you want a slice of can’t find a good tax-efficient exit route that’s going to increase the cost of you getting a place at the table.

There is no past. It doesn’t exist. And there is no tomorrow…, just a series of more possible todays, none of which is cast in stone yet. But if you want those future today’s to be even better than the day you are living at the moment, whether you aspire to own your own business or sell the one you’ve built up at some point, one thing you definitely should do today is to sign up to one of their free seminars at BSAVA Congress or other forthcoming venues around the UK