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Accountant

An accountant is someone who helps businesses and individuals to stay on top of their financial affairs. There’s a wide range of different types of accounting practices, but in this Taxopedia entry, we’ll be focussing on personal accounting. 

When do you need an accountant as an individual?

In most cases, you would only consider an accountant if you need to file a tax return. This applies to you if you work for yourself as a sole trader, as a limited company, or for any other untaxed income that you have to declare on a tax return. If you Pay As You Earn (PAYE), the tax you owe is sorted by your employer.

For an everyday individual taxpayer, your accountant’s main task is to prepare and file your personal tax return.

Other things that they can do for you are:

  • Help you to claim expenses
  • Calculate the tax that you owe
  • Find ways to help you lower your tax bill, like showing you which tax-free allowances you can claim

In the UK, you can either file a Self Assessment tax return yourself or get an accountant to file it for you. If you decide to work with an accountant, it’s important to make sure that they’re qualified i.e. that they have the basic AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualification. Take a look at the list of professional UK accounting bodies to make sure that the person you’re working with is regulated. 

Why do I need to file a tax return?

There are various reasons that you might need to file a tax return. Here’s a list of a few, all of which you could get professional help with:

  • Self-employed, as a sole trader or limited company
  • Paying tax on inheritance
  • Capital Gains Tax on investment profits
  • Declaring rental income
  • You earn over £100,000
  • Savings interest
  • Pension withdrawals
  • You’re due a rebate
  • CIS subcontractor refund
  • Declare earnings from a side gig (e.g. selling masks on Etsy)
  • And more!

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