The Inland Revenue estimates some 800,000 taxpayers will miss the 31 January deadline for self-assessment.
If this is correct, in theory this should bring #80m into the Treasury coffers, assuming that those who are avoiding their tax liabilities do not also avoid paying their late payment fines.
If you or one of your clients are one of the 800,000, you have just two weeks to get your tax form in to the Revenue or face paying a #100 fine plus interest on any outstanding amounts.
This might seem like teaching your mother to suck eggs, but there are many accountants out there who are in this same boat, because of pressure of time, have not got round to completing and sending in their forms.
But at this stage not only do you have to complete the form, you also need to work out your tax liability. Help is at hand through a number of websites, in particular the Revenue’s own pages, www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk.
Already 125,000 people have registered at the website to file their returns over the internet. Through the website it is possible to download all the necessary forms, so you can’t even use the excuse of the dog eating your return, and also, if your tax affairs are simple, there is the free TaxSaver 2000 Lite.
This is the only software package currently supported by the Revenue.
But users first need to register through the website, a process that is quick and simple.
The site is remarkably clear and avoids a good deal of jargon.
Other websites for good background on self-assessment include the ICAEW’s tax faculty’s site, www.taxfac.co.uk, and the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s www.tax.org.uk.
Most of these sites are aimed at tax experts, although the CIoT’s site has an area for the public.
Both sites have some helpful background articles, though these sites are probably worth bookmarking for up-coming information on the next round of self-assessment forms.
A good bet is the charity TaxAid’s site, www.taxaid.org.uk, which works primarily for those that cannot afford a tax adviser.
This has some good tips, it doesn’t try to sell you anything and links you back to the Revenue’s own tax calculator, as well as links to other software sites.
Other software is available on sites such as www.sa2000.co.uk, www.taxcalc.com, and www.e-taxchecker.com.
The software available on these sites will calculate your tax, most of which can be downloaded over the internet, though be patient because this can take time.
It would be difficult to recommend one over any of the others and it would seem to be a case of you pay your money, you take your choice. It is worth pointing out that taxcalc.com is backed by Which?, so if you’re looking for a reliable brand this could be worth taking a look at.
For some further help and extra guidance, visit some of the national newspaper websites, such as telegraph.co.uk or Associated Newspaper’s thisismoney.co.uk.
It offers useful pointers and a tax calculator. And of course there is always accountancyage.com.
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