We sort your Self Assessment for you. £169, all in.

Fast, effortless and 100% online.  Learn more

We sort your Self Assessment for you. £169, all in.

TaxScouts vs HMRC Self Assessment: what’s the difference?

  • 6 min read
  • Last updated 29 Apr 2024

What’s the difference between TaxScouts and HMRC? Good question. We’re probably the answer you’re looking for… but let’s compare to make sure as we’re pretty biased. 

Here’s what you need to know before getting your Self Assessment tax return filed.

What is HMRC?

HMRC stands for His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and they’re “the UK’s tax, payments, and customs authority”. They take money that’s owed to them and distribute it amongst public services, schemes, and those who get targeted financial support💰

What taxes do they collect?

HMRC collect taxes like Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Corporation Tax, VAT and lots, lots more.

Does your tax return end up with them?

Because one of their main jobs is to collect tax, HMRC is also the collector of tax returns. A grand position, right? No matter who prepares your tax return (personal, company, or otherwise), they all end up with HMRC.

HMRC have an online Self Assessment service which you can use to file your tax return. In theory, it’s simple to do, but we’ll get into the details of this later.

What is TaxScouts?

Hey, that’s us👋

We’ll sort and file your tax return for you, so you don’t need to bother with the stress. 

TaxScouts is the name and revolutionising personal tax preparation is the game. 

What’s the TaxScouts secret?

We automate the process and cut out boring, long-winded admin that comes with prepping and filing tax returns 🍝

Admin takes up the majority of the time when filing a tax return. Our platform allows accountants to focus on the actual maths and saves them hours of work. Quick, efficient and correct tax returns – music to our ears!

What else does TaxScouts offer?

We offer professional tax advice from an accredited accountant to help you make sense of your tax situation. 

Choose which one makes sense for you. Or you can bundle the tax return and tax advice services into one and save some cash 🙌

Who needs to file a Self Assessment?

Great question! 

Not everyone needs to file a tax return. If you’re an employee, you’ll receive a payslip every month. This means you’re paying your taxes automatically through your salary to HMRC via PAYE.

Here are some people who we sort tax returns for at TaxScouts:

Self-employedCIS (construction workers)
First-time filersHigh earners
Investors (crypto, stocks, property)Landlords
ExpatsCouriers, riders, or drivers
Freelancers & contractorsTax relief/refund claims

If you’re new to self-employment, you picked up a lucrative side hustle, you started investing or you’ve earned any other untaxed income, you’ll need to let HMRC know.

The general rule is: if you’re earning untaxed money and HMRC don’t know, you need to let them know.

They’ll find out anyway and you’ll more than likely be hit with some hefty fines. Ouch!

Here are some situations that indicate you might need to file a tax return:

  • You have untaxed income
  • You want to claim a tax refund
  • HMRC tells you to submit one
  • You qualify for benefits

And many, many more. Get all the details here and avoid HMRC’s fines and penalty fees.

How does filing with HMRC work?

With HMRC it’s free to file (woohoo) but it can get complicated (sob) and confusing (double sob). 

  1. Create a Government Gateway account
  2. Register for Self Assessment
  3. Request your UTR number
  4. Start preparing your tax return 

HMRC doesn’t make it an easy process, so expect to find the following:

  • Lack of clarity and relatable language throughout
  • A long and boring process (to get to the point)
  • A hard time deciphering which sections are relevant to you
  • Little help to understand the calculation of your tax bill
  • Lots of jargon for simple requests 
  • An online portal that isn’t intuitive

How does filing with TaxScouts work?

It’s quite a bit different from HMRC. Namely, it’s straightforward, jargon-free and costs a small, fixed fee. 

You’ll still need to register for Self Assessment and request your UTR number from HMRC but then you switch over to our well-loved platform – according to our users

Once you sign up for TaxScouts, we walk you through some simple questions. Then you’ll need to add your documents, like your P60 and your income and expenses spreadsheet, for your accountant. 

Lastly, you pay the £169 fee and get matched with an accredited accountant who will start to prepare your tax return for you to approve. Once approved, they’ll file it!

We’ve got even more details on our easy-to-use platform here, which shows you how it works step-by-step.

What are the main differences between the two?

taxscouts vs hmrc

The platforms differ quite a bit but according to our users on Trustpilot, it’s easy to see who the real winner is. Let’s get into some of the main differences.

How intuitive is the platform?Simple, straightforward, logicalNot very – it gets long-winded and confusing
How long does it take to file?As little as 48 hours from document uploadA while, depending on how fast and organised you are
Is there support along the way?Yep, your accredited accountantThe internet and an agent if you can get through over the phone
Jargon-free?Of course!Wishful thinking, but no.
Request UTRYep.Yep.
Cost£169Free (if you don’t count the emotional stress)
Can you make an amendment (within a year of the Self Assessment deadline)? Yep, your accountant will sort it all for youYep, but you’ll have to do it yourself
Getting in touch with HMRCYour accountant will probably already know the answer but if need be they can contact them on your behalfYou’ll have to contact them yourself

What happens if you make a mistake on your tax return?

With TaxScouts, our accountants don’t make mistakes – plus there’s an extra assurance. You have to approve your return before it’s filed, so you can triple-check it before it’s filed.

You can check things like:

  • Your income and expenses match your records
  • All your earnings have been recorded
  • You’ve included your salary income
  • The personal information you filled in is accurate
  • Employer details are correct 
  • Profits are estimated accurately

If you make a mistake while filing directly with HMRC, you’ll only find that out when they send it back to you (with penalty fees) to fill in again. Figuring out why it was incorrect in the first place is tough.

Who issues your tax rebate?

TaxScouts has no control over the amount nor how long it takes to reach your account. Alas! HMRC issues your refund – how much and how long it takes depends on them. It usually takes between 8 and 12 weeks to receive your refund.

Remember, you won’t be told you’re owed a refund, but if you want to double-check, you can always get in touch with your TaxScouts accountant to clarify. 

Is an online accountant worth it?

We think that you can’t put a price on the stress-free process and peace of mind you get knowing your tax return was filed correctly, on time, and by a professional.

✨An extra TaxScouts perk✨

Get your TaxScouts tax return paid off with our referral scheme!

 If you refer your friends and family to TaxScouts, you’ll get £25 straight to your bank account once they pay for a service. Plus they get 10% of the service they choose. 

Learn more on the TaxScouts hack to get your fee paid off (and essentially a free return). 

Why choose a service like TaxScouts?

To sort your tax return so you don’t have to go through the stress yourself. 

If you’re not well-versed in HMRC-speak, the process can get confusing. So the experts, our accredited accountants, do all the work they love to do while you get peace of mind knowing your tax return is in good hands. Save time that you can spend doing other, more important things. 

Sort your taxes today with TaxScouts

Get ahead of the tax game, stress-free. Whether you need advice or your tax return sorted and filed, we’ll do it all so you don’t have to.

  • Get your very own accredited accountant
  • Online help with your tax situation
  • Fast, simple, easy – just like it should be
Self Assessment Tax Returns