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Self Assessment a concern for many small businesses

January 30, 2013

A poll of over 500 small businesses shows that a significant number of business owners found the self assessment process worrying – and in some cases, terrifying.

The survey, conducted by online accounting software provider FreeAgent last month, found that over 20% of respondents said that completing their annual tax returns made them feel anxious.

35% felt confident about completing their tax returns, and 5% said they were ‘terrified’ at the prospect of online filing.

The poll, which was carried out by YouGov on behalf of the software provider, found that over half of all business owners polled expected to pay an accountant or bookkeeper to complete their returns (given the growing number of supplementary pages and questions, this is perhaps unsurprising).

Traditionally, most people leave completing their tax returns until the run-up to the 31st January deadline. Respondents to the FreeAgent poll are no exception, with 46% expecting to complete their SATR’s this month (January), and 16% in the last week.

Ed Molyneux, CEO and founder of FreeAgent, said that Self Assessment is meant to be an easy process, but despite HMRC’s apparent commitment to tax simplification, over half of business owners who took part in the survey felt unable to complete the process without professional help.

The growth in popularity of online accounting software in recent years is likely to ensure that small business owners fell more confident that they can complete their tax returns without the need for extra help.

“Small businesses are realising that an online accounting system not only offers an easy way to stay on top of your business accounts but also makes it easier to complete your tax return and ensure you submit it to HMRC in plenty of time.”

Further Information

With just a few days to go before the 31st deadline, you may wish to read some of our dedicated guides, including 10 self assessment mistakes to avoid, and what happens if you fail to file in time – a guide to HMRC’s new penalties regime.

Find out more about FreeAgent here.