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    • Bochin
    • By Bochin 12th Aug 18, 10:54 PM
    • 4Posts
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    Bochin
    Self Assessment software
    • #1
    • 12th Aug 18, 10:54 PM
    Self Assessment software 12th Aug 18 at 10:54 PM
    For the first time we are going to have to carry out self-assessment for both of us (me and my wife) as we rent couple of properties and our profit exceeds the £2.5k (just) for this year.

    Here is my question: I noticed there is a lot of software available to help with completing the self-assessment for example SimpleTax which claims to assist with finding all allowable expanses etc but we not sure of the value of this software compering with HMRC website as we have never used it?

    Additionally I’m not sure how it works as if I register for online assessment I can do it until Jan next year and those software’s claim they “send it directly to HMRC” but dose that mean if I send the return using the software it is as “online” i.e. deadline is Jan or is that just sending PDFs in email and is accepted as paper and deadline is October?

    Sorry for probably silly questions but we have never done it and I’m a bit stress with it all
Page 1
    • pjwhit
    • By pjwhit 13th Aug 18, 10:11 AM
    • 8 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    pjwhit
    • #2
    • 13th Aug 18, 10:11 AM
    • #2
    • 13th Aug 18, 10:11 AM
    Unless you have some extremely complicated tax affairs I cannot see why anyone would need to use any software other than the online HMRC forms but it does really depend on what you want to do.

    3rd party software will likely calculate things as you go through the year, so maybe every week, month etc you enter payments received, expenses etc and then at the end of the year it will collate the details for a comprehensive return.

    As for the submission, its all done online these days, once you've completed your return you'll tell the software your happy to submit it and it will wing its way electronically to HMRC, you'll then receive a confirmation with reference number for your records.
    • SeniorSam
    • By SeniorSam 13th Aug 18, 10:54 AM
    • 1,184 Posts
    • 605 Thanks
    SeniorSam
    • #3
    • 13th Aug 18, 10:54 AM
    • #3
    • 13th Aug 18, 10:54 AM
    There are accountants that will complete an on;line tax return for you if you supply all the figures and information. I have been having my return done this way for years. This year the cost has gone up to £100 + VAT, which is very little to pay to have your return done professionally. Try shopping around and save yourself a lot of hastle.

    Sam
    I'm a retired IFA who specialised for many years in Inheritance Tax, Wills and Trusts. I cannot offer advice now, so my comments are just meant to be helpful.
    • olbas_oil
    • By olbas_oil 13th Aug 18, 11:27 AM
    • 197 Posts
    • 92 Thanks
    olbas_oil
    • #4
    • 13th Aug 18, 11:27 AM
    • #4
    • 13th Aug 18, 11:27 AM
    There are accountants that will complete an on;line tax return for you if you supply all the figures and information.
    Sam
    Originally posted by SeniorSam

    But isn't that the hard bit? If you have figures and information, then the forms themselves are easy. I'm going to recommend Taxcalc Individual, which I've been using for years. Up to 6 returns for £30.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 13th Aug 18, 1:15 PM
    • 7,319 Posts
    • 7,032 Thanks
    00ec25
    • #5
    • 13th Aug 18, 1:15 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Aug 18, 1:15 PM
    But isn't that the hard bit? If you have figures and information, then the forms themselves are easy. I'm going to recommend Taxcalc Individual, which I've been using for years. Up to 6 returns for £30.
    Originally posted by olbas_oil
    why?

    does it tell you what cost to claim ?
    if not how is your £30 any better than simply reading the tax return notes and typing the number into the relevant box on HMRC's online tax return for free?

    OP seems to want software that will suggest expenses he can claim, presumably because he does not know what he can claim. No software can do that for you, either you know what you can claim, or you don't. If you don't then that is where you benefit from paying an accountant to advise you
    • Pennywise
    • By Pennywise 13th Aug 18, 1:49 PM
    • 10,911 Posts
    • 20,601 Thanks
    Pennywise
    • #6
    • 13th Aug 18, 1:49 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Aug 18, 1:49 PM
    OP seems to want software that will suggest expenses he can claim, presumably because he does not know what he can claim. No software can do that for you, either you know what you can claim, or you don't. If you don't then that is where you benefit from paying an accountant to advise you
    Originally posted by 00ec25
    Have to agree. There's no software which will tell you whether your spending, say, on a new kitchen is wholly, partially or not allowable. To know what you can claim for, you need to read the supporting/explanatory notes of the land and property pages, and even then, it may not be clear and then you need to refer to HMRC's property income manual.

    Software is just putting figures in boxes in the same way as writing them on the paper form would be. What is the real skill is knowing which figures go in which boxes (or categories on software) and which don't go on at all.

    Eg the tax return has a box called "property repairs and maintenace" - as will the software. You have to decide what goes in that box and what doesn't. You need knowledge to know whether you can claim for a new fridge or not - the software won't have a category called "fridges" and even if it did, that alone is still not conclusive as to whether the purchase of a fridge is allowable or not.
    Last edited by Pennywise; 13-08-2018 at 1:52 PM.
    • Bochin
    • By Bochin 13th Aug 18, 3:51 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Bochin
    • #7
    • 13th Aug 18, 3:51 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Aug 18, 3:51 PM
    Thank you for all your input and I really get a point about software not being able to advise me on all the allowable expenses etc. We have done tax return as such before we just had to do simple letter to HMRC and they adjusted our tax code it is just a first year we have to do an official self-assessment and that were I came across all these software/platforms and was wondering of the benefit of using one against using HMRC website directly.

    I thought maybe those programs are easier or maybe have a more user friendly interfaces or maybe suggest some expenses etc. to make sure we haven’t missed anything but as you said above I understand they will not replace professional advice.
    I might just try HMRC website and see how difficult it is and they try the SimpleTax as they offer 14days trial and see if there is any difference.

    I think the benefit might be I can use software straight away i.e. for current year and start inserting things as they come? Not to wait until end of the year?
    • polymaff
    • By polymaff 13th Aug 18, 6:58 PM
    • 2,334 Posts
    • 1,030 Thanks
    polymaff
    • #8
    • 13th Aug 18, 6:58 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Aug 18, 6:58 PM
    The HMRC self-assessment system isn't difficult to use and its greatest benefit is that, providing your data are correct and you meet HMRC's criteria as to who can use SA, HMRC can't really dispute their own calculations!

    "Professional" software is only copy-cat software, anyway, as has been shown when they have faithfully reproduced the many errors HMRC have made in their many, many attempts to produce a working package. Probably only Tim Good and I are ahead of the curve on this, so if you start early you'll be on thin ice.

    You might respond, "but what if I want to experiment?" No problem - the HMRC software allows you to experiment again and again - just don't progress beyond the point where you are shown the full calculations and you can go back and "what if?" to your heart's content.
    Last edited by polymaff; 13-08-2018 at 7:16 PM. Reason: data ARE correct !!!
    • pramsay13
    • By pramsay13 13th Aug 18, 7:32 PM
    • 586 Posts
    • 1,020 Thanks
    pramsay13
    • #9
    • 13th Aug 18, 7:32 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Aug 18, 7:32 PM
    As others have said the HMRC website is fairly easy to use and as you just have a couple of properties your tax affairs won't be particularly complex.

    You could use a spreadsheet to start recording all details immediately and then just transfer to self assessment form when complete.

    Or you can start completing the self assessment form and then save it and come back to it later or ask for help for anything that isn't clear.

    If you're particularly worried it might be worth paying someone to do it for you this year and see if you want to complete it yourself going forward.
    • G4OJR
    • By G4OJR 11th Oct 18, 5:53 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    G4OJR
    My accountant fee has increased from £480 last year to £540 this year for compiling my return for one property, PAYE and some untaxed savings interest. I might try the DIY option next year.
    • purdyoaten2
    • By purdyoaten2 12th Oct 18, 8:41 AM
    • 950 Posts
    • 467 Thanks
    purdyoaten2
    My accountant fee has increased from £480 last year to £540 this year for compiling my return for one property, PAYE and some untaxed savings interest. I might try the DIY option next year.
    Originally posted by G4OJR
    Unless you are in the habit of throwing every record into a plastic bag and dumping it on your accountant to sort out from scratch I would get a new accountant as those figures are steep.
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