SimpleTax review: Tax doesn't need to be taxing

SimpleTax is a web based service that simplifies your taxes. Anything that makes that process less painful is definitely worth a look.

If you run your own business, let out property or even just do the odd bit of freelancing here and there, you’ll be well acquainted with Her Majesty’s online tax return. From 2011, the HMRC did away with paper returns entirely - so now you have no choice but to submit your tax return online. Though we’re sure that the current system was rigorously designed and tested over a period of many months - it still has the appearance of something that was knocked together in an afternoon by committee of drunk accountants.

SimpleTax takes the place of your current income and expenses recording system. It uses the data you enter to interface with and generate a tax return that’s compatible with HMRC’s system, so you don’t have to endure its horrors. 

The system really is simple. You begin by selecting a role, which helps the SimpleTax decide how to treat your case. In most circumstances you’ll then see a very simple data entry page. You can enter income from your enterprise by clicking the “Add” button, add the amount and a description. You can also select a category for that income - whether it’s from sales, interest on savings or other sources. 

SimpleTax does away with the need for an accountant, if your tax affairs are simple enough in the first place.

Adding expenses is slightly more complex as you have to pre-select the categories that apply to you or your business. Even this is a simple list of expense types with a check box next to each. When you’ve chosen all that apply, you can begin adding in your outgoings too.

At anytime you can generate a PDF report. This tells you how much income tax and class 4 National Insurance contributions you’ll owe at any time. At the end of the tax year, with your personal HMRC details properly configured in your account, you can send this as your tax return to the Inland Revenue with a click of a button. At this stage you’ll be prompted to pay a subscription fee of £49 - which is much cheaper than employing an accountant. 

Unfortunately, though great in many other respects, SimpleTax doesn’t offer to smooth migration from your old book-keeping system. There’s no way to upload or integrate your existing records - which means you may have a lot of manual data entry to do if you run a business or are a sole trader making most of your income from self-employment. 

OUR VERDICT

In other words, SimpleTax probably works best for people whose tax affairs are fairly simple. If you’re one of the many people paying an accountant to calculate your tax for you and to file your return, but feel that with a little more confidence or help you could probably do it yourself - then SimpleTax is for you.

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