The January rush to file a tax return will become a thing of the past, claims a challenger bank.

Countingup has launched its mobile-based business current account to those sole traders at the top of its wait-list. It claims to be the first UK challenger bank to focus on the 4.5 million sole traders, freelancers and contractors; and the first to promise plug and play accounting built in.

With the 31 January self-assessment tax deadline looming, many sole traders and their accountants will be frantically trying to get their tax return submitted. In 2017 some 5m tax returns were filed at the last minute. Add to this the Government’s Making Tax Digital plans to increase the number of tax filings to 5 per year from April 2020 and the size of the burden on businessowners becomes apparent. Countingup says that it will change all this "with automated bookkeeping and tax returns.

Tim Fouracre, the founder and CEO of Countingup, commented: "Sole traders have been neglected by the mainstream banks who focus on larger businesses. Often sole traders are forced to use personal accounts because the process of setting up a business account is arduous, slow and expensive. This creates a huge headache when trying to make sense of your business finances.

They and their accountants miss opportunities to improve the profitability of their business. Fouracre recognises this and adds, “We’re launching today with banking. The accounting functionality will be rolled out throughout 2018. We’re already providing a profit and loss report and automatically categorising transactions from the beginning”.