Should You Get an Accountant to Do Your Tax Return?

Organising your tax return for the first time can be a scary prospect, and you’ll probably find yourself asking, whether you should get an accountant. When you become self-employed, every day is a learning day! But does this extend to taxes? Or should you get an accountant to do your tax return? Read on to find out what the legal requirements are, as well as the pros and cons of engaging a professional to do your taxes.

1. Can You Fill in Your Own Tax Return?

Yes, you can fill in your own tax return (SA100 form). There are no legal requirements to use a professional. In fact, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is sent in on time and completed correctly, even if you decide to use an accountant. So, even if you use a professional and they let your down, you’ll still face late filing penalties. HMRC will probably even reject an appeal on the basis your accountant failed you because ultimately it is YOUR responsibility to make sure it is filed on time.

2. Should I Get an Accountant to Do My Tax Return?

Since there is no legal requirement to use a professional, whether you should get an accountant to do your tax return is entirely up to you. Here are the pros and cons to help you decide what is best for you and your business:

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2.1 Pros of Using an Accountant

  • Taxes can be complicated so you’ll have peace of mind you’ve claimed all the allowances and reliefs you’re entitled to;
  • Outsourcing administrative tasks when you’re a business owner saves you the time and hassle of doing them yourself;
  • If your tax affairs are simple, getting an accountant can be relatively inexpensive – especially since penalties start at £100 for missing the deadline.
  • In the unlikely event something triggers a tax inspection, it can be calming to know you have a professional in your corner and that your tax returns have been filled in correctly by an expert.

2.2 Cons of Using an Accountant

  • Ultimately it’s your responsibility to get your tax return filed so you need to make sure you can rely on the person you choose to file your return;
  • It’s another cost for your business and, depending on what stage you’re at, you may want to avoid spending the money, especially if you feel confident that you can tackle things yourself.
  • Unless you have a recommendation, it can be worrying to sign up to an accountant and feel confident you can trust them with your personal affairs.

Ultimately, the decision to use an accountant, or not, is entirely up to you. If you do decide to hire one, then make sure you ask the right questions before you commit. That way you’ll have peace of mind you’ve chosen the right person. Plus, you leave yourself plenty of time before the tax return deadline to engage your chosen professional. Be aware, however, accountants are inundated with client work during January and may not be able to accommodate a last-minute request to do tax returns for new clients.

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About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek and money nerd helping financial DIY-ers organise their money so they can hit their goals quicker.