Why would you use an accountant to help complete your self-assessment tax return? A more obvious question would be ‘why wouldn’t you?’.
Put simply, a tax return details your taxable income for the financial year as well as any expenses or tax reliefs you might be eligible to claim to reduce the amount you owe. Accurate figures are essential, along with invoices and receipts to back up your claims, and financial penalties will be imposed if anything is incorrect.
There are a number of reasons why a self-assessment tax return may be needed. If you’re self-employed or a partner or company director, for instance. You’ll also have to do one if you have a large amount of savings or investment income, or income from overseas, or if you own land or a property that is let or is generating income.
A trusted accountant is invaluable when it comes to self-assessment tax returns, not least because they are almost certain to save you a great deal of time and frustration – and ensure you won’t find yourself in the midst of a last-minute January panic. But, however organised and prepared you may be, there are other factors, and some of them are discussed in the points below.
The benefits of experience
It’s rarely a straightforward process, filling in a tax return, and no matter how well you’ve been on top of your figures over the year, an accountant will have been through the process countless times and will know exactly what’s involved. It’s also our job to remain abreast of any changes in legislation, which can be both complicated and confusing, so you don’t have to worry about being served with penalties for late returns or supplying incorrect information.
While it may sometimes feel like your finances are straightforward and the process is similar year after year, just consider what has happened over the past few years. We’re still seeing the effects of furlough schemes and government support in the current self-assessment period – and who would have thought working from home would end up being such a prominent consideration for so many?
At J Sweeney Accountants we pride ourselves on being specialists in our field with vast experience that means we can support businesses and individuals with all aspects of their accounting needs.
On a practical level, that’s anything from payroll and bookkeeping through to acting in an outsourced financial director role, but it’s also about building relationships with our clients so we fully understand their needs and goals.
It might not be an immediate need, but tax planning is always worth considering. An accountant who knows the individual, how and where they work, and the structure and processes of their company if they’re a business owner, will build all of that knowledge into how they complete the tax return.
Someone who is looking to take out or increase a mortgage over the next year, for instance, has very different tax needs from someone who is starting to consider their retirement.
Specialist advice one year will automatically make the process smoother the following year. Once an accountant has clear information in their files it can be used to plan finances more efficiently over the months and the January deadline will feel significantly less onerous.
We offer bespoke packages that suit the requirements of each individual client – offering them the level of support they need and want. There are fixed-fee arrangements so there are no unpleasant surprises, and we pride ourselves on the level of customer service we offer to each and every client.
At J Sweeney Accountants, we see ourselves as much as trusted business advisors as accountants. The fact is that there are very few people who wouldn’t benefit from having professional input as they complete their self-assessment form.
As a service, it’s not prohibitively expensive and, as well as saving you time and reducing stress, the experience and knowledgeable input of a professional could actually end up saving money.