By Daniel Hunter
More than half of self-employed Britons do not understand how to complete self-assessment tax returns, according to ZAPTAX, a tax app.
ZAPTAX's research found that many leavie it to the last minute or give up on their returns altogether because they are too stressed, irritated or worried to continue.
As a result, self-employed people are at more risk of incurring the hefty fines and penalties imposed by HMRC or making mistakes which result in under-or-over-payments.
Asked if they felt confident about their understanding of what was required of them when filling out their self-assessment tax returns, 54% said they didn't know how to complete it.
Subsequently, all respondents were then asked to reveal how the felt during the process of self-assessment, to which the majority stated that they felt ‘confused’ (78%), ‘irritated’ (73%) and ‘worried’ (66%). Only 12% stated that they felt ‘confident’ and 8% stated they were ‘relaxed’ during the process.
Those who said they felt negatively or did not understand the process were asked what effect this had on their completion of the forms. More than half (57%) said they left it to the last minute, with 23% admitting to not completing the forms correctly.
Nathan Evans, founder of ZAPTAX, said the following: "It is not easy for the average Joe to sit down and sift through reams of paperwork and receipts and what have you, with calculations as long as your arm to try and work your way through.
"When you don’t understand something, it’s easy to get frustrated and, eventually, give up altogether. It makes it much easier to turn your back on tax, either leaving it to the last minute or keeping quiet about the odd bit of weekend work you might have on the side. It’s not right, but it isn’t hard to see why this goes on.”
He added: "The self-assessment tax process as it stands is still too complex. People are working longer hours, often for little money, and they don’t need this extra torture."
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