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The dangers of DIY tax returns: Why risk it?

There are and always will be plenty of people who opt to prepare and file their self-assessment tax returns themselves. This is commonly referred to as the ‘DIY’ approach. There are also thousands who choose to hand the paperwork over to their accountants and let them do the rest.

The truth is that the DIY approach carries a number of potential ‘dangers’. Under all but the simplest of circumstances, going it alone is best avoided. Working with an accountant can eliminate unnecessary worry, save valuable time and money and ultimately avert risk.


The dangers…

Here we identify just some of the hazards associated with DIY tax returns:

1. Tax returns take time – preparing a tax return can take a significant amount of time, particularly if the affairs aren’t straight-forward. Gathering relevant information and completing forms thoroughly and correctly can be a challenge for individuals lacking know-how and experience.

2. Easy to make errors – when preparing a tax return, alongside the day-to-day running of a business, it’s all too easy to miss important details. HMRC have a keen eye for errors on tax returns and no matter how minor, a mistake can be costly.

3. Forget deadlines, expect penalties – remembering deadlines and key dates can be difficult if there is no-one there to give you a polite reminder. Failure to submit a tax return on time and pay the tax owed will result in financial penalties. The deadline for doing this is 31 January 2018.

4. Protecting your best interests – when going it alone, it’s easy to fall into the trap of evaluating tax affairs purely in terms of the ‘here and now’, however this isn’t always the most sensible or effective approach to take. A professional adviser, on the other hand, will consider the long-term tax position and ensure the client puts their best foot forward.

5. Avoid insufficient instructions – online guidance can be useful, but for the most part it’s written from a very generic perspective and is unlikely to appeal to anyone with circumstances that deviate from this.


Why risk it?

Why risk falling victim to penalties, panic and poor guidance? By entrusting us with your tax return you can take comfort in the knowledge that your tax affairs are being taken care of quickly, efficiently and compliantly. If you’d like to discuss your circumstances in more detail, call us today on 01767 315010 or fill in one of our online enquiry forms here.


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