Sole traders spending 9.5 hours on tax returns

A survey found that nearly half of UK sole traders spend five hours or more completing their tax return, and 22 pr cent say they spend ten hours or more on their annual submission. This equates to a total of 1.89m sole traders in the UK who are spending the best part of a non-charged working day on their self-assessment each year, it calculates.

The research identified that most sole traders are taking an independent approach when it comes to managing their submission, with 63 per cent saying they manage it all by themselves, without the help of an accountant or friends and family.

Sole traders also expressed their thoughts on the current process for self-assessment via the research, with just 5 per cent saying they liked it a lot, and 55 per cent saying they dislike it. However, the majority also said they were unaware of future MTD requirements to keep track of their tax affairs digitally and report quarterly to HMRC.

Michael Wood, founder of Receipt Bank said: ‘It’s no surprise that most sole traders find annual self-assessment a chore. The process of gathering up carrier bags full of receipts and spending hours manually inputting data into a spreadsheet is time consuming and takes them away from what they want to be doing: running their business.’

The survey indicated that a more regular, and so less burdensome, exercise would be welcomed by most sole traders. Over three quarters already report that they take time out at least once a month for financial management, and 17 per cent of these are doing so on a daily basis.