More than a quarter of the UK’s smallest traders, such as freelancers, feel anxious about completing their self-assessment tax return, with some even feeling “terrified” about the process.
In a YouGov poll of over 500 micro businesses, 21 per cent said they were anxious about going through the taxman’s self-assessment system, and 5 per cent said it actually terrified them.
Only slightly more than a third of the traders – all of whom had five or fewer members of staff – said they felt “confident” about settling up with HM Revenue & Customs as a self-assessor.
Seeming to underline that small traders take the taxman and his penalty regime seriously, the majority of respondents (56 per cent) say they use a professional bookkeeper or accountant to fill in their return.
Ed Molyneux, founder of cloud accountant FreeAgent, which commissioned the poll, said: “The whole point of self-assessment is that it should be as simple and stress-free as possible, and it clearly isn’t for many business owners.”
The trepidation that many of the traders suggested they feel when self-assessing their tax liability comes despite a commitment from HMRC to make the process as easy and hassle-free as possible.
Mr Molyneux reflected: “[With] more than half saying they get an accountant to help them…the government may need to consider making changes to ensure the [self-assessment] process is easier.”
Elsewhere in the
poll, many of the business owners signalled that they leave submitting their tax return to
the last-minute, with 46 per cent saying they file within the month before the
deadline (Jan 31st), while 16 per cent return it within the final