· Making mistakes and missing out vital information are key concerns
· Almost one in five people think there is too much jargon
· Cost of accountancy fees and affording the final tax bill keep individuals awake at night
A significant number of self-employed individuals say they are worried about making mistakes or missing something out on their tax return, new research* from untied, the personal tax app, today revealed.
Over a half of respondents (56%) reported concerns around doing their returns wrong or forgetting something crucial and slipping up during the process. More than a quarter (26%) say they need to steel themselves before gathering all their receipts and paperwork and a further 19% maintain that doing their tax returns just takes too long – and presumably takes them away from doing things that really matter to them.
Worryingly for the tax authorities, almost one in five (19%) people think there’s too much jargon to get their heads round and over one in seven (16%) find it too difficult to do.
Cost is also a factor that causes anxiety – nearly one in three self-employed taxpayers say they are concerned about having to spend money on an accountant to do their tax return and well over one in six fear that they will not be able to afford the final bill. Almost ten percent worry about missing the 31 January deadline and incurring a fine.
Kevin Sefton, CEO at untied, commented: “It’s that time of year when taxpayers reluctantly turn their attentions to and start fretting about getting their taxes done. Whilst doing a tax return is a necessary evil, it really doesn’t have to be that stressful. Our advice is always to get ahead of schedule. This date is now two months away – no one should be leaving their tax returns until the last minute just in case something else crops up, particularly as it becomes more difficult to contact HMRC directly the nearer the deadline it is.
“There are many ways to make things easier – including getting organised in advance and potentially using a service like untied that helps people get on top of their taxes. We want everyone to be in control and confident that their taxes are right – meaning there is more time to focus on your lives and businesses and less time worrying about receipts, taxes or paperwork.”
untied’s top tips to make the whole tax return process plain sailing:
- Don’t be afraid of tax - there’s lots of support out there and you will know most of what is needed already
- Get organised which will help you relax by filing your tax return early without any deadline stress
- Know how you earn by writing a simple list of where your money comes from
- Work through each source one at a time – you’ll find that you’ve got more information than you realise. If you’re self-employed or renting out property, your bank records – especially if connected through a product such as untied – will have a lot of the information
- Claim relevant expenses – including mileage if you’re self-employed or renting out property (don’t double claim fuel / car costs) and a working from home share (see also COVID)
- Think what’s different this year – it’s likely to be COVID. If you’re an employee or self-employed you can get a tax reduction for costs of working from home that aren’t fully reimbursed. You may also have got COVID grants – these will generally be taxable (untied has a section on how to treat them and other information can be found online)
- Keep evidence – using the principle of “what will help explain this transaction?” This can be a mix of paper and electronic. You don’t need to send this to HMRC, but need to have it to hand
- File – if you think you’re ready, get it filed. If you find you’ve missed something you can send an amendment later
- Set aside money to pay your tax – you can file now and pay later. The payment deadline is also January. HMRC will tell you what to pay
- To do all this quicker and easier, use untied 😊
For further information:
Chantal Heckford firstname.lastname@example.org