Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Are Tax Returns Your Favourite Waste of Time

25 January 2017

With all due respect to the vast industry that it supports, doing it yourself always leaves you with that nagging doubt that a professional would have done this better all along. You could have spent your time more profitably doing what you’re good at instead, and you wish you hadn’t started in the first place.

You feel compelled to complete the chore yourself, but, given a recent report, you should think again. If you’ll excuse the cliches, it may be an old chestnut to talk about doing your own bookkeeping and tax returns, but the subject comes with a new twist this time round.

That new twist we mentioned is that some figures have been put against all that anecdotal angst. Research by YouGov has found that Britain’s sole traders spend a total of 9.5m hours annually on their tax returns. (We’re sure some individuals account for a significant proportion of that time all on their own!)

In case you’re wondering, YouGov isn’t an instrument of state. It’s an independent commercial research company, that claims to engage with over 4m people worldwide, on all manner of market research topics. So, if you fancy giving your opinion on everything from how good a US president Mark Zuckerberg would make, or how fit and healthy Britain considers itself, you can make that four million and one any time you like.

Of course, that’ll leave you less time for dealing with that ever-growing mountain of paperwork that is your receipts drawer. Don’t be shy – a lot of people have one.

The survey that delivered that 9.5m-hour figure was compiled for a business technology group (1Tap Receipts) and it also found that most of the nation's 4.2m non-employing businesses do not know about Making Tax Digital (MTD), which - if you thought paperwork couldn’t get more onerous - is about to rock your world, and not in a fun way at all. Incidentally, if MTD is a new concept to you, get in touch, we really do need to talk.

Tax returns aside, it’s all about how you can more profitably spend your time. The Government - in fact all governments - tear out their collectively elected hair at the thought of how much time is lost to the economy (and hence lost to notional national economic output) by small businesses doing the tax faff for themselves.

The Federation of Small Businesses has gone on record saying they think business cost burdens are set to rise, on the back of a range of government policy decisions in the pipeline. Just think auto-enrolment and amendments to minimum wage for starters, and that not inconsequential quarterly tax reporting thing we mentioned.

The worst DIY scenario is doing-it-yourself in a hurry. If all these extra (mandatory) demands on your time mean you’re going to be up against it to make your deadlines, your tax return is going to be the equivalent of a set of shelves banged up in a hurry with the wrong sort of rawlplugs. Shaky at best.

Avoid everything crashing down around your head, and get Springfords on the case. That way, you can spend your time on what you’re great at doing, and we’ll make sure you look good to all the right people. If that saves you hours of work, well, you can feel satisfied that you’ve helped stop a whole gaggle of politicians from going bald - and you’re shelves will be straight and secure too.


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springfords blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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