It can be quite time consuming and annoying to fill out a self-assessment form, and because of this, many people choose to hire an accountant to fill out self-assessment forms for them. A good self assessment accountant will take away a lot of the stress when it comes to sorting out your self assessment tax.
If you are concerned about self assessment, then you can get a lot of benefit from working with an accountant, but make sure that you choose carefully. There is nothing to stop anyone who wishes to do so from advertising themselves as an accountant, but the only ones that you should deal with are ones who are registered with a professional governing body such as the ICAEW or the ACCA. These are Chartered or Certified groups and they have strict qualification requirements and codes of conduct to protect people from rogue, under-qualified traders.
A good self assessment accountant can complete a basic self-assessment service for you for around £200 in most parts of the country including Essex.
If you are confident that your needs are relatively simple, then you can often get your tax return done online. There are some fairly inexpensive services that will look over your accounts for you remotely, and give you basic advice. These fixed-fee services can give you peace of mind, but you should be wary of them if you have any complex queries, because they are unlikely to check the accounts in enough detail to pick up any issues with them if your case is even slightly unusual. So, if you need specialist advice, pay a little extra and get a qualified accountant to do the accounts properly for you. It will be worth it in the long term.
Fixed fee services are more interested in getting as many people to use them as possible than they are really getting the accounts to be done in detail. They can give you good advice on things like expenses for use of home, pension contribution, whether expenses can be claimed for specific items, and other important issues, but you will need to total up your income and provide them with everything in a ready to check format. As a sanity check, they are useful, but if you don’t have the time to do that, then you should pay a proper accountant to look things over in person.