Do I Need an Accountant for Self Assessment?

The simple answer to this common question is no, you aren’t legally required to hire an accountant when it comes to filing your Self Assessment tax return. Once you register you can submit your tax return yourself, and lots of people do.

 

The benefits of hiring an accountant to do your Self Assessment

We might be biased, but when it comes to completing your tax return accurately, on time, and with minimal impact on your time and stress levels, hiring an accountant is invaluable.

It doesn’t even have to be an accountant you hire all year round either. You can simply reach out to an accountant when the time comes.

 

Significant time-saving

Completing your Self Assessment is like anything else in life. If it’s not something you’re well-versed in, it’s going to take you a heck of a lot longer than somebody who is a pro.

Leaving your tax return in the hands of an accountant will speed up and streamline the process. You’ll get it off your to-do list much faster.

 

Less room for error

Similarly, when you attempt to tackle something you don’t do very often, you’re likely to make a fair few mistakes here and there. This is especially true when it’s something as complex as a tax return. One decimal point out of place could land you in serious trouble.

As well as ensuring the accuracy of your financial records, an accountant will help you make sure you hit HMRC’s unforgiving deadlines too.

 

Help ensuring your business is as tax-efficient as possible

A good accountant will make sure they offer guidance and advice about where your business could be more tax-savvy. They’ll know where to find tax relief, and what you could be claiming to help protect cash flow.

 

Somebody to answer your questions

It helps just knowing that there is somebody there to answer your questions when you need it. Tax can often feel like you’re stumbling around in the dark like a headless chicken. Your accountant will be an ally who knows what they’re talking about.

As the old adage goes, leave it to the professionals. When you entrust your tax return to somebody who, quite literally, makes it their business to get it right, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

 

The pros and cons of submitting your Self Assessment return yourself

Considering going it alone and completing your tax return independently? We salute you! Just familiarise yourself with the pros and cons below first.

 

The advantages of a DIY Self Assessment return

Doing it yourself isn’t all bad news, despite how appealing the prospect of hiring an accountant might be. There are perfectly valid reasons why some people choose to take on the challenge themselves.

 

Mostly, to save money

Although it’s fairly inexpensive, particularly if you use an online accountant, getting an accountant to sort out your Self Assessment tax return does come with a price tag. Some people simply can’t afford it, or need to spend their budget elsewhere.

 

Matters of privacy

For some people, choosing to submit their own Self Assessment return is about protecting their personal data and information. If you work with a reputable accountant, this should never be an issue. But for the super-cautious, the DIY approach just feels safer.

 

Peace of mind (again)

We mentioned peace of mind as one of the benefits of hiring an accountant to submit your tax return but hey, peace of mind can be a subjective concept. Some people might find more reassurance in controlling the process and timeline themselves – and that’s okay too.

 

The downsides?

When you do it yourself, you don’t get any of the benefits of hiring a professional to file your tax return. We went into more detail above, but as a quick recap:

  • Time-saving and freeing up your valuable working hours
  • Reducing the risk of error and omission by capitalising on their skills and experience
  • Help making sure your business remains compliant and tax-efficient
  • Having someone there to answer your questions
  • Reassurance and peace of mind

The Self Assessment return process has the potential to be stressful, complicated and extremely time-consuming. It’s vital that you understand the undertaking of the task before embarking on it alone.

 

Read our guide to finding the right accountant for your business, or ask a tax question for free

Stephanie Whalley
Serial snacker, compulsive cocktail sipper and full time wordsmith with a penchant for alliteration, all things marketing and pineapple on pizza.