65% of taxpayers chose for their accountants to file their tax returns online, with 6,357,000 of online self-assessment tax returns being submitted by agents, and just 3,457,000 by the individuals themselves.
This highlights the vital role accountants continue to play in guiding clients through the complexities of the system.
Accountants’ expertise can help ensure that the information provided to HMRC is full and accurate and that all allowances and exemptions are made use of.
This helps make sure that taxpayers are paying the right amount in the most tax-efficient way, on time.
870,000 self-assessed taxpayers filed their tax returns late last year. Filing late can lead to hefty fines and could be a red flag for HMRC.
Using an accountant can minimise the likelihood of errors and missed deadlines, and also reduce the risk of a costly and stressful tax investigation being launched by the Revenue.
It is easier for HMRC to spot errors and inaccuracies in online filings than it is on paper returns because they are increasingly adept at scrutinising and cross-referencing information held on their Connect database.
This makes it easier to spot errors and inconsistencies, which are often the trigger for HMRC to launch an investigation.
Kevin Igoe, Managing Partner of PfP, comments:
“Taxpayers continue to choose their accountants’ expertise to navigate them through a process fraught with pitfalls.
This demonstrates how much clients rate the value that accountants bring.
They trust them to make the process more efficient, minimise mistakes, and make sure that clients are paying no more or less tax than they should.
The stakes are raised when it comes to filing online, because it’s much easier for HMRC to see where the holes are.
Of course, taxpayers must always take every precaution to ensure they provide the correct information to HMRC, whether they are filing digitally or on paper. But the reality is, inaccuracies and errors are much more likely to get picked up online.
HMRC investigations can take a real financial and emotional toll on individuals and businesses, even if they have simply made a legitimate mistake. Taking out specialist insurance to protect themselves against the costs of a potential investigation is one way to ease the pressure.”