Self-Assessment Tax Returns: Do it Yourself or use an Accountant?
This is a question we hear a lot. It’s a bit like when we used to apply for a new Passport using that long paper form, we were 100% sure we’d done it right first time, so smugly handed it over and refused to pay the nominal fee for the assistant to check it – then lo and behold a week later there’s a mistake (we’ve all done it). Putting you back to the bottom of the pile and redoing the whole thing again – not fun!
This is why with Self-Assessment it is wise to get a local accountant on board – yes, I know we’re an accountancy firm and you’re thinking of course we’d say that but here’s why:
If you’re a sole trader or business owner, time is precious and better spent on your business. The annual tax return is an inevitable task and something most put off because it’s arduous and quite frankly boring. However, we love it and the decision to work with a local accountant gives you peace of mind that it’s being done correctly and on time, saving you the hassle of navigating the tax return process independently.
Not one size fits all
With anything to do with tax several considerations come into play, and everyone has nuances that need to be checked thoroughly. Using standard templates and online forms can be useful but like the passport, one mistake and you’re back to square one and against the clock.
The cost savings outweigh the fee and fines
Working with a local accountant can potentially lead to cost savings. A seasoned accountant knows where to uncover deductions, legally reducing your tax liability. Attempting a DIY Self-Assessment might result in overpaying taxes, which could be a significant sum. In many cases, the savings achieved by hiring an accountant may exceed the cost of their services.
It’s our job and we’re here to ensure 100% accuracy when it comes to your filing. While you can access your Self-Assessment online, completing it correctly can be perplexing, especially if you’re new to the process. With an accountant you know it’s right and if not, we’ll take the burden.
A local accountant has extensive experience in handling tax returns and stays updated with evolving tax legislation. This means you won’t have to worry about penalties for late submissions or incorrect information.
One of the hidden benefits of choosing a local accountant is the access to specialised advice. We can help you organise your financial records for a smoother process in the following years and offer valuable insights into managing your finances effectively. Not taking advantage of our accounting services would be a missed opportunity.
Online Services – you get what your pay for
When searching for accountants to assist with your Self-Assessment, you may come across cheaper online services. However, these are often no more than form-filling services. You provide your information, and they input it. The individuals handling your tax return might not even be qualified accountants, and they are unlikely to explore avenues for potential savings. Mistakes can occur, and you’ll essentially get what you pay for.
Our services go further than form-filling. We offer an in-depth initial consultation, where we discuss your specific needs, providing a personalised service. We take the time to get to know you and your business, and we’re even prepared to represent you if HMRC selects you for a Self-Assessment inquiry.
So, is DIY Self-Assessment worth it?
If you prefer to handle your own tax return, that’s absolutely fine. The ease of completing tax returns depends on your unique circumstances. If you have very simple accounts, it can be manageable.
Of course, you’ll save on the fees associated with hiring a professional accountant. However, it’s essential to remember that the savings an accountant can potentially find can offset this fee.
If you’re self-employed or own a business in the Cheshire or Huddersfield area, Lianne@langricks.com would be delighted to discuss your Self-Assessment needs with you.
As mentioned before our services extend far beyond tax returns. Many of our clients begin with small services like this, and as their businesses grow, they realise the wide range of services we can offer, and a trusted local accountant can be a valuable asset for your business.