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Filing your annual tax returns

Updated on February 1, 2016

At this time of the year before the next financial year rolls in, many are in a scramble to make sure that they are going to be able to get their tax return in before the due date. Depending on where you are in the world, your local tax authority can and will take the appropriate measures to recoup funds that they believe are due to them.

For those that reside in the UK and in the USA, the HRMC and the IRS respectively take a strong stance on people that don’t file their tax returns. Both organisations can and will make back charges and add penalties onto any severely late payments which can run into four figures. In the most extreme cases however, individuals can be sent to prison over this matter. This is exactly what happened to Al Capone, which is ironic since many believed it would have been his other less than legitimate business practises which would have landed him in prison.

Who needs to pay tax?

In short, everyone needs to pay tax. However, the way in which people pay it will vary depending on what kind of work that they carry out. For example, for those that work as an employee in the UK, say for the supermarket giant Asda, they will pay tax. Having said that, they pay tax automatically off of their earnings each month which their employer sorts out for them (called PAYE) along with their national insurance.

However, in the case that you do additional work, i.e. you work in Asda but at the weekend you do freelance car washing, the proceeds of your freelance work must be declared to the tax man. This is a fairly simplistic example, but it makes the point clear that all earnings must be made accountable for. For those that do more extensive freelance work, it might not be appropriate for them to carry out a self assessment online.

Further, if you don’t work for a company and rather you work for yourself all of the time, then you too will need to take care of paying your own taxes as well as national insurance. In an instance such as this, it would be beneficial for you to enlist the expertise of an accountant. Whilst many would most like wish not to do this, in the long haul it is a much more sensible option for those that are self employed.

Any qualified and level headed accountant will not only do you accounts for you (as the name suggests), but they will also suggest ways in which you can limit the amount of tax that you’re going to be paying. Whilst this won’t always be an option, if there is a way that you can legally save money then your accountant will be able to keep you right in this regard.

Finding an accountant easily

The question is though, how do you go about getting yourself an accountant. Despite us all living in the Golden Age of technology, this is still a question many people find themselves asking. To put it simply, the easiest way to go about it is through a simple search on Google or Yahoo/Bing.

For those that aren’t the most technological savvy, let’s assume you live in Harrogate and wanted to find accountants there. It’s literally as easy as searching ‘accountants in Harrogate’ for you to be able to get the results you need. Likewise, if you lived in London all you would need to do is search for ‘accountants in London’.

Of course, no matter which one you end up picking, be sure to find out if your accountant is a reputable one. Whilst there are many accountants out there, there are more than a few that aren’t exactly above board. Again, a simple Google search will be able to assist you in this matter. If it were the case that you opted for a cheaper accountant, then this option could prove to be a costly mistake in the months and years to come. Likewise, if you feel that the accountant of your choice is rather expensive, or you don't know how much you should be getting charged a quick email or phone call to several accountants can give you a rough price of the outlay you'll need to make.

Generally it is better to do this in an email since you can simply cut and paste the same email to various different firms to get an answer in the quickest time possible.


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