You may need an accountant to assist you.
More than eight million taxpayers will have received new Self Assessment tax returns in April, of whom about half will be self-employed or with partners in their own businesses. Many of those who have not yet dealt with their tax returns will be wondering whether or not they need an accountant.
Self Assessment brings with it many new rules, including statutory time limits and automatic penalties. Some have been well publicised, others have not. For example, do you know what records you have to keep to support your tax return and for how long? And did you realise that you may face penalties of up to £3,000 if you fail to do so?
Partners may not be aware that, even if their personal tax affairs are in order, they will be personally liable to penalties if partnership returns are filed late, even if another partner has been nominated to be responsible for filing returns. In addition, coinciding with the introduction of Self Assessment, the ways in which many sources of income are taxed, including business income, have also been changed and there are complicated transitional arrangements.
A good accountant will be familiar with the new regulations and will advise you if you are in danger of breaching any rules. The new system is no simpler than the old one: those who have used accountants in the past to prepare their returns will no doubt continue to do so, but many others will also benefit from seeking the advice of an accountant.