Updated: Aug 10
Do I need a Tax Agent?
If you need help with your tax matters it’s a good idea to consider using a tax agent.
It can often be a false economy not paying a tax expert because mistakes are easily made.
There’s lots of easily accessible material about tax especially online but this does not mean you will apply the right information to your set of circumstances.
This is where a tax agent becomes your translator, time saver and stress-reliever. It all boils down to what you need and if you feel a tax agent is the best choice for you.
What is a Tax Agent?
A tax agent is someone that you authorise to communicate with HMRC on your behalf regarding your tax affairs. A tax agent is there to help you but remember you are still solely responsible for the accuracy for any information officially submitted to HMRC for example a tax return.
Who can be a Tax Agent?
Bookkeepers, Accountants or Professional Tax Advisers including appropriately qualified or experienced friend, colleague or family member.
Choosing a Tax Agent
Appointing the right tax agent is important. We have all heard the horror stories of emptied bank accounts and mysteriously vanishing financial advisers. Luckily there are a few key things that can minimise this risk:
Make sure they are qualified and regulated by one of the professional bodies, like the ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) or the CTA (Chartered Institute of Taxation).
For example, if the ICB logo is displayed on their site, you can easily check its authenticity by searching for their name on the ICB register (which can be accessed on their website, for free).
Check that you understand the pricing structure. Some tax agents have a complicated fee structure or ‘hidden costs’ that crop up after an initial price has been agreed. You should be able to understand exactly how much your work will cost after one phone conversation with a tax agent. If this is not the case, be wary how you proceed.
No tax agents are allowed to even imply that they are in any way connected to HMRC. Every tax agent is an independent, private business and HMRC does not recommend, authorise or endorse any of them.
Do some research online. Most tax return agents have a website so you can find out more about them before doing anything.
Who can use a Tax Agent?
Anyone can use a tax agent including employed and self-employed individuals.
What services do Tax Agents offer?
They can help you complete self assessment tax returns, CIS, PAYE and understand the necessary tax laws and plan for your future tax affairs.
Can I just do all this myself?
Yes, it is completely legitimate for any taxpayer to deal with everything themselves. Remember, registering someone as your tax agent does not mean that you have entered into an obligatory contract with them.
Using a tax agent can save you the time and effort that you can then spend on other things.
It also means that your paperwork will be accurate, you will only claim for legitimate tax reliefs and you will never miss an HMRC deadline – therefore avoiding all the potential penalties you could incur at every stage of the process.
An added bonus is you can usually claim our fee as a tax deduction if you’re self employed.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Contact details are on our website.
Steve Pearce MICB PM.Dip
18th April 2023