‘Tax return doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth,’ says Which?

‘Tax return doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth,’ says Which? ahead of deadline

With the online tax return deadline just weeks away, new Which? research has found that four in 10 people would rather take a trip to the dentist than complete their tax forms.

Which? surveyed over 4,000 members of the public to investigate the nation’s tax return habits. More than half (53%) would rather do the ironing or clean the bathroom (53%) than complete their returns. Meanwhile fifty-four percent preferred to visit their in-laws. Just over one in four (41%) would rather spend time unblocking a drain or visit the dentist (41%).

While the findings demonstrate the many chores people would rather do than submitting their form, Which? is encouraging people to beat the upcoming deadline and avoid a fine. Late tax submissions can leave people with hefty penalties – for a return that is three months late this can be up to £1,000. Filing late will land taxpayers with an immediate £100 fine, and the cost of late returns can reach thousands, depending on how late it is and the amount owed.

Which? also looked into the most time-consuming aspects of the process that people encountered when completing their returns. Almost half (44%) of respondents spent the longest amount of time finding receipts and records, while a third (34%) said that trying to understand HMRC forms was the longest part of the process. Meanwhile, one in 10 (10%) said that looking up the various terms and tax jargon took the longest.

Which? hosts an easy-to-use and jargon-free online tax calculator, which offers personalised tax tips and helps simplify the process. This system also allows for returns to be submitted directly to HMRC.

Gareth Shaw, Which? Money Expert said:

“It is clear that few people enjoy the annual process of completing their tax returns. And while completing household chores can seem more appealing, putting it off can leave consumers with hefty fines – going into the thousands.

“However, returning tax doesn’t need to be like pulling teeth. We’d recommend using online calculators, such as the Which? tool, which offers a jargon-free, simplified process that even submits your data directly to the HMRC.”

Notes to editors

The Which? tax calculator can be found here: https://www.which.co.uk/money/tax-calculator/

Which? commissioned Populus to survey 4,215 people (including 628 who will be self-assessing this year, and 519 who have done so previously) online to investigate the nation’s tax return habits between 25-29 October 2017

3,082 people responded to the question to indicate whether they dreaded tasks and household chores more than their tax return.

519 people responded to the question on the most time-consuming aspect of completing a tax return.

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