As Tax Day looms large again, it will seem very tempting to quickly put your tax return on your own and send it off, praying you did everything right and the government would not slap you with a giant bill in the end. However, on second thought, you are bound to see how erroneous - and often costly - the DIY approach is. This is why more and more people turn to chartered accountants such as www.linghamscharteredaccountants.co.uk each spring, leaving nothing to chance and avoiding last-minute scrambling around. Here are some good reasons you should follow suit!
Changing rules and laws
Tax law is one of the most dynamic legislative areas. There are hundreds of minute changes and amendments annually, and only a professional accountant will stay on top of them. Even if you are filing a relatively simple return without many deductions or side income, the pattern you follow from year to year may not be relevant anymore and could end up costing you more taxes or even penalties for wrongful filings. A dedicated chartered accountant will prepare your tax return from scratch, without relying blindly on filings from previous years, and according to the latest legislation.
Thanks to globalisation, we deal across national borders and own money and assets in foreign countries more than ever before. This opening-up brings its own caveats, and the inaccurate declaration of foreign assets can rob you of tax benefits - or incur penalties. A chartered accountant will review all your foreign assets and perform the necessary tabulations in order to determine the exact information that needs to be passed on to the tax authorities so you comply with the latest regulations without paying a penny more than you have to on your foreign-held properties and accounts.
This is a big topic for many people. It is quite common for active professionals to look for additional gigs on the side of their regular jobs. Apart from the extra income, it brings new contacts and an expanded skill set. However, the additional income that (hopefully) results from these endeavours can cause confusion for the self-filing taxpayer. Some people would even opt not to declare the income at all and risk getting caught - a most unnecessary and reckless choice. A chartered accountant knows the ropes on declaring side income in ways which minimise the taxes you owe on it. They may even be zero costs incurred or even a or result in a tax credit if the cost of carrying out the additional task outweighs the gain.
If you had a challenging year health-wise, there is a silver lining: medical expenses past a certain amount are tax-deductible. However, medical expense claims are also among the most closely scrutinised, and incomplete or erroneous filings will not only rob you of the chance to reduce your total taxable income but also prompt a deeper audit of your full return and possibly penalties as well. A qualified accountant will know the intricacies of this particular tax return area and will guide you through to a successful claim. This includes both collecting all the pertinent documentation and presenting it in a straightforward and clear manner which precludes any objection from the authorities. Medical expenses can be among the most crippling we can face, and relief should not be left to chance.
Last but not least, engaging the services of a chartered accountant keeps you in check and guarantees you will follow proper procedure, eliminating the risk of penalties due to missed deadlines or inaccurate claims. The government has recently cracked down on delayed returns, which account for a good deal of all levied penalties. A professional will make sure you avoid fees and maximise your return on top of that.