Tax needn’t be taxing!

Tax needn’t be taxing!

This was the catchy punch line adopted by HMRC and delivered to us by the unmistakable voice of the BBC’s Moira Stuart. As we approach the deadline for the submission of self-assessment tax returns, one cannot escape this message as the media send it out in all directions – newspapers, TV, radio, even online adverts. Is this really a fair reflection of the tax process in the UK?

Anyone who has trained as a Chartered Accountant will back me up here – the UK tax system features the largest amount of legislation in the world, arguably making it the most complicated system on the planet.

Are you struggling with your tax responsibilities? You are not alone. In today’s world, there is a plethora of information out there on tax. Unfortunately, much of it is inaccurate and unreliable. However, there is information and support available.

Some advice:

HMRC tax guidelines

Whether you are a sole trader or running a larger business, the HMRC website should be a place you are familiar with. This offers a lot of clear advice on processes that need to be followed. It also offers an extensive list of leaflets and factsheets. The main disadvantage with this, however, is that it can be difficult to find what you are looking for. You cannot ask questions or ask for feedback which can be crucial when it comes to getting help with tax.

Tax advice workshops

Everyone is different and learns in different ways. Personally, I find workshops excellent tools for getting a better understanding and improving tax management skills. They often take complex topics and break them down into simple terms which remove the financial jargon and provide sound practical advice. However, workshops have their own disadvantages too. They are not always readily available, and in the case of sole traders, you will often have a tax issue that needs to be resolved immediately. Chances are it will not be possible to attend the event immediately.

Talk to your Chartered Accountant

If other methods of tax advice don’t answer your question, do not suffer in silence. I have seen this all too often. Tax mistakes can lead to bigger problems including investigations and penalties. This is the last thing any business needs.

Accounting support does not need to be an expensive outlay. You could say I’m biased, but in my opinion, it is a must. Chartered accountants are specialists who can work with you and often have a multitude of plans to suit varied budgets and specific needs. Sometimes it can be difficult and may seem unnecessary to ask for help but not doing so could inadvertently lead to violation of tax laws. Seeking the services of a chartered accountant will give you the assurance that you are complying with the law and help you to run your business more efficiently. Most importantly, it can free up your time to let you do what you do best – grow your business!

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