New Which? calculator helps make your tax return less taxing

As the online tax return deadline looms, Which? launches a free jargon-busting tax calculator, as our latest research reveals four in ten people who completed an online return in the last two years found the jargon on the HMRC website confusing.

The latest Which? research reveals that four in ten (38%) people who completed an online return in the last two years found the jargon on the HMRC website confusing, while a third (32%) said the form was difficult to complete and 29% said the help notes were not very useful. Four in ten (39%) said they needed to use guidance and information from sources other than HMRC to complete their tax return.

Which? has launched a jargon-busting tax calculator to help anyone who needs to fill in a tax return. The new Which? tax calculator is free to use and explains key rules on allowances and deductions.

Which? money expert Gareth Shaw, said:

“Many people dread completing their tax return and put it off even though they know they risk penalties. Our new free-to-use online tax calculator will help make completing a tax return less taxing, as it offers guidance for those who struggle with complex forms and confusing jargon.”


1. You can find the tax calculator at Our guidance draws on years of experience of the Which? Money Helpline experts, who have helped thousands of people understand tax rules and the allowances to which they’re entitled.

2. According to HMRC more than 11 million people are expected to fill out a tax return by 31 January, with at least 9.5 million of these to submit online, via its website.

3. Methodology: Which? surveyed 2,120 members of the general public, of whom 348 had completed a tax return online within the last two years. The data were weighted to represent the UK population.

4. We found several examples of confusing language among the HMRC website help notes including:

– ‘When you sell an item on which you have claimed capital allowances, deduct the amount you received for it (the sale proceeds) up to the cost of the item from the pool value brought forward or cost. Likewise, if you give away or no longer use an item for business purposes, deduct the current market value of the item (up to its original cost) from the pool value or cost. If the sale proceeds or the market value of the item is more than the unrelieved balance in the pool value, the difference is called a “balancing charge” and is taxable. Enter the total of any balancing charges.’

– In another example, relating to property, a help note headed ‘Period of grace election’, says: ‘If any property qualified as a furnished holiday letting property in 2012-13 but does not reach the occupation threshold in 2013-14, please select “Yes” from the drop-down menu otherwise, select “No”.’

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