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How Much Accountants Charge For Personal Tax Returns

Understanding the costs associated with hiring an accountant for personal tax returns in the UK is crucial for taxpayers. This article, focuses on the current pricing landscape, factors influencing these costs, and general advice on budgeting for these services.

How Much Accountants Charge For Personal Tax Return

Current Pricing Landscape

In 2023-24, the fees charged by accountants for personal tax returns in the UK vary significantly. These variations are influenced by several factors, including the complexity of the tax return, the type of service required, and the accountant's expertise. However, to give you a general idea:

  1. Individual Tax Return: Costs range from £75 to £ 500+ VAT per annum.

  2. Self-Employed Tax Return and Accounts: The fee is typically between £250 to £1,000+VAT per annum.

  3. Limited Company Services: Accountants generally charge £60 to £ 250+ VAT per month, covering accounts, tax returns, and payroll services.

Additionally, for a standard annual tax return, like a self-assessment tax, a typical UK tax accountant charges around £250. However, the actual fee can vary based on different factors. Some sources suggest that hiring an accountant for tax return filing usually costs around £150, but this could be higher or lower depending on various aspects.

For self-assessment tax returns, the cost is around £200-£300, depending on the complexity and timing of the filing. On average, accountants charge about £300 to file a tax return, with variations depending on whether you're an independent freelancer or running a business.

Moreover, for self-assessment and tax returns, you can expect a one-off fee of £150 to £250.

Factors Influencing Cost

  1. Type of Service Required: The cost varies depending on the type of service you need. Services include annual accounts, bookkeeping, tax returns, payroll returns, VAT returns, and general financial advice. Each service commands a different price, and it’s essential to know exactly what you need to avoid overpaying.

  2. Size and Type of Business: Your business's size and type significantly influence the accountant's fees. For example, payroll services for companies with 10 to 50 employees range from £100 to £200, whereas larger companies may pay over £500.

  3. One-off Service vs Ongoing Service: The pricing for a one-off service, like basic accounting, can be between £25 to £50 per hour. In contrast, ongoing services such as payroll can cost between £100 to £200 per month for small to medium-sized businesses.

  4. Location: Geographical location plays a vital role in pricing. Accountancy fees are generally higher in major cities like London compared to more rural areas.

Budgeting for Accountancy Services

When planning your budget for accountant fees, consider the following tips:

  • Assess Your Needs: Clearly understand what services you require. If you only need help with your tax return, a one-off service may be more cost-effective than a full-service package.

  • Compare Quotes: Don't settle for the first quote you receive. Shop around and compare prices from different accountants or firms.

  • Understand the Pricing Structure: Make sure you understand whether you're being charged a flat fee, an hourly rate, or a monthly retainer. This will help you avoid any surprises when the bill arrives.

  • Consider Timing: Filing your tax return well before the deadline can sometimes reduce the cost, as accountants may charge more for last-minute services.

  • Evaluate Online Options: For simpler tax situations, consider using online tax filing services, which can be more affordable than hiring an accountant.

Comprehensive Table Detailing Various Fees Charged By Accountants in the UK for Personal Tax Returns

Type of Service

Standard Fee Range

Factors Influencing Cost

Individual Tax Return

£75 - £500+VAT per annum

Complexity, filing deadline

Self-Employed Tax Return and Accounts

£250 - £1,000+VAT per annum

Business complexity, additional services like bookkeeping

Limited Company Services

£60 - £250+VAT per month

Size of the company, number of transactions, payroll services

Self-Assessment Tax Returns

£150 - £300 (one-off)

Timing of filing, the complexity of an individual’s finances

Basic Accounting Services

£25 - £50 per hour (one-off)

Nature of accounting work, expertise required

Specialist Accounting Services

£125 - £150 per hour (one-off)

Specialization required, like tax planning or investment advice

Ongoing Payroll Services

£100 - £200 per month

Company size, frequency of payroll processing

Tax Return Filing (Standard)

Around £250 (annual)

Simplicity of tax situation, deadlines

General Accounting for Small Businesses

£60 - £250 per month

Business turnover, number of employees, services required

Choosing the Right Accountant

When selecting a tax agent or accountant, several key considerations should be kept in mind:

  1. Research Their Services: Review the tax services offered on their website and understand the fees and terms involved.

  2. Check Reputation and History: Look for online reviews or check their social media presence to gauge their reputation.

  3. Assess Experience and Expertise: Ensure they have experience relevant to your specific needs, like familiarity with your trade sector or business size.

  4. Service Scope: Verify if they offer all the services you need, such as payroll, audit, or investment advice.

  5. Professional Qualifications: Check if they hold relevant qualifications or are members of an accountancy or tax professional body, as this can be a mark of credibility and expertise.

  6. HMRC Online Access: Confirm if they are registered for Online Access with HMRC for digital tax management.

It’s important to note that not all tax agents have qualifications or professional training, and HMRC does not regulate them. Many reputable tax agents and advisers, however, are members of professional bodies that provide qualifications and enforce professional standards.

Benefits of Professional Tax Assistance

Hiring a professional accountant for your tax return has several advantages:

  1. Expertise: Accountants have in-depth knowledge of the UK tax system, which can be invaluable in navigating tax laws, allowances, and reliefs.

  2. Time Savings: An accountant can handle the entire process of completing a self-assessment tax return, saving you considerable time.

  3. Accuracy: Professional preparation of tax returns minimizes the risk of errors that could lead to additional liabilities or penalties.

  4. Representation and Support: In the case of a tax investigation, an accountant can provide valuable representation and support.

  5. Ongoing Financial Advice: Many accountants offer more than tax return services, including financial planning and business advice.

Potential Pitfalls to Avoid

While there are benefits, there are also potential drawbacks to hiring an accountant:

  1. Cost: The fees can be high, especially for simple financial situations, and they vary significantly among accountants.

  2. Loss of Control: Outsourcing tax preparation might lead to a perceived loss of control over personal finances.

  3. Risk of Unqualified Professionals: The risk of hiring an unqualified or incompetent professional exists, so it's crucial to choose a certified and reputable accountant.

  4. Over-Reliance: Relying too heavily on an accountant might affect your understanding of your financial situation and the UK tax system.

Choosing the right accountant involves careful consideration of their services, reputation, experience, qualifications, and the scope of services they offer. While the benefits of hiring a professional are significant, including expertise and time savings, it's essential to be aware of the costs and risks involved. This awareness will help you make a decision that best suits your financial needs and circumstances.

Maximizing Value from Accountant Services

To ensure you get the most out of the services provided by your accountant, consider the following:

  1. Comprehensive Tax Return Checklist: Prepare a detailed list of all income sources, expenses, tax reliefs, and allowances. This includes employment income, self-employment income, income from property, and other sources like foreign income and dividends. For expenses, consider self-employment costs, rental property expenses, charitable contributions, business mileage, and pension statements. Awareness of tax reliefs such as personal allowance, marriage allowance, and allowances for specific investments is also crucial.

  2. Awareness of Deadlines and Submission Methods: Be mindful of tax return deadlines (31st January) and understand the submission methods, whether online or paper-based. This helps in avoiding late submission penalties.

  3. Avoid Common Mistakes: Keep detailed records of income and expenses, submit your tax return on time, and save your UTR number and Government Gateway ID securely. Professional advice is recommended to navigate complex tax situations.

Latest Trends in Tax Accounting in the UK

The tax accounting landscape in the UK is evolving, influenced by several factors:

  1. Economic Challenges: The UK is facing economic challenges, including a projected recession in 2023. This situation places pressure on accounting teams, necessitating agile forecasting and strategic management of operating expenses.

  2. Professional Pressures: Accountants are dealing with deadline pressures, increasing complexity of accounting systems, and regulatory risks. Over 60% of accounting teams are concerned about the impact of these challenges on their ability to perform effectively.

  3. Technological Advancements: Nearly half of the accountants believe that new technologies, such as cloud-based accounting software, are crucial for improving operational excellence. These advancements can enhance accuracy and automate accounting processes, although nearly half of UK organizations have not integrated new financial software recently.

  4. Future Outlook: There is an increasing need for digital transformation in the accounting sector. Solutions like SAAS cloud-based accounting software and real-time financial data resources are available, but their integration faces challenges, including recessionary pressures and reluctance from leadership to embrace digital changes.

Maximizing the value of an accountant's services involves thorough preparation, understanding of tax reliefs and allowances, and awareness of submission deadlines. Staying informed about the latest trends in tax accounting, such as the growing importance of technology and the challenges posed by economic conditions, is also crucial. By considering these factors, UK taxpayers can make informed decisions about hiring accountants for personal tax returns, ensuring they receive the best possible service for their specific financial needs.

How Much Does Personal Tax Advice Cost in the UK?

The cost of personal tax advice in the UK varies based on several factors, including the complexity of your financial situation, the type of service required, and the expertise of the tax advisor. Understanding these costs is crucial for individuals who require assistance with their tax affairs.

Factors Influencing Cost

  1. Complexity of Tax Affairs: The more complex your financial situation, such as owning a business, freelance work, or having multiple income sources, the higher the cost of tax advice. Complex cases require more time and expertise to manage effectively.

  2. Type of Service: Basic advice for a straightforward tax return will cost less than comprehensive tax planning or dealing with complex issues like foreign income or capital gains.

  3. Expertise of the Tax Advisor: Experienced and highly qualified tax advisors typically charge more for their services, reflecting their expertise and the value they can add.

Average Costs

  1. General Costs: For basic tax advice, fees can range between £25 to £50 per hour. More specialized advice may cost between £125 and £150 per hour. These costs can vary based on the advisor’s experience and the services provided​.

  2. Self-Assessment Tax Returns: For those needing help with self-assessment tax returns, the cost can range from £150 to £250 as a one-off fee. This fee generally covers the completion of the tax return and ensuring it's filed accurately and on time​.

  3. Hourly Rates: Some personal tax advisors charge an hourly rate, with £150 per hour being the average in the UK. This rate applies to various services, including tax planning and advice​.

  4. Digital vs. In-Person Advice: The mode of advice can also affect the cost. Digital advice often costs less due to lower overheads for the advisor, whereas in-person advice, especially in expensive areas, can incur higher fees​.

Value of Personal Tax Advice

Despite the costs involved, good personal tax advice can provide significant benefits:

  1. Improvement in Take-Home Income: Effective tax planning can increase your take-home income by ensuring you take advantage of all available tax reliefs and allowances.

  2. Accuracy and Compliance: Professional advice helps ensure your tax return is accurate, minimizing the risk of errors and penalties from HMRC.

  3. Time and Effort Savings: With an expert handling your tax matters, you save time and effort, especially if your financial affairs are complex​.

  4. Awareness of Tax Benefits: A skilled tax advisor will make you aware of all the allowances, reliefs, and expenses you can claim, ensuring you don’t pay more tax than necessary and don’t lose money unnecessarily​​​.

The cost of personal tax advice in the UK is variable, depending on your specific needs and the level of expertise required. While there is an upfront cost, the long-term benefits, including potential savings, accuracy, compliance, and peace of mind, often outweigh the initial expenditure. It’s crucial to assess your personal circumstances and choose a tax advisor who offers the right balance of cost and value.

The Advantages of Online Personal Accountants Over Traditional Walk-in Accountants in the UK

The Advantages of Online Personal Accountants Over Traditional Walk-in Accountants in the UK

In the evolving landscape of accounting services in the UK, online personal accountants are becoming increasingly popular. This trend is driven by their potential cost-efficiency and effectiveness compared to traditional walk-in accountants. This article delves into the reasons behind this shift and the benefits of opting for online accounting services.


  1. Lower Overhead Costs: Online accountants often operate with lower overhead costs than their walk-in counterparts. Without the need for physical office space and related expenses, they can offer more competitive pricing structures. This reduction in operational costs is frequently passed on to clients, resulting in lower fees for the same services.

  2. Flexible Pricing Models: Many online accounting firms offer a variety of pricing models, including fixed fees, pay-as-you-go, or subscription-based services. This flexibility allows clients to choose a plan that best suits their financial situation and avoids the potential for unexpected costs often associated with traditional accounting services.

  3. Efficient Service Delivery: Online accountants leverage technology to streamline processes, making service delivery more efficient. Automation of routine tasks reduces the time accountants spend on manual data entry, which can translate to cost savings for clients.

Time Efficiency and Accessibility

  1. Convenience: Online accounting services offer unparalleled convenience. Clients can access their financial information, communicate with their accountant, and receive services without the need to travel to a physical location. This saves time and reduces the hassle associated with in-person appointments.

  2. Real-Time Collaboration: Modern accounting software used by online accountants facilitates real-time collaboration. Clients can view their financial data, upload documents, and receive updates instantly, enabling faster decision-making and timely financial management.

  3. Extended Availability: Unlike traditional accountants who may be bound by office hours, online accountants often provide more flexible hours, including evening and weekend availability. This extended access is particularly beneficial for clients with busy schedules or those in different time zones.

Technology and Tools

  1. Advanced Accounting Software: Online accountants utilize sophisticated accounting software and tools that offer features such as automatic bank feeds, invoice management, and financial reporting. These tools not only enhance efficiency but also provide clients with insights into their financial health.

  2. Data Security: With a focus on digital operations, online accountants prioritize robust data security measures. The use of encrypted data transmission and secure cloud storage ensures that clients' financial information remains confidential and protected.

  3. Integration with Business Tools: Many online accounting platforms integrate seamlessly with other business tools, such as payroll systems, e-commerce platforms, and CRM software. This integration provides a holistic view of the business’s financial picture, streamlining operations and decision-making processes.

Personalized and Scalable Services

  1. Tailored Solutions: Online accountants can offer more personalized services by leveraging data analytics and client-specific insights. They can provide bespoke advice and solutions that align with the unique needs and goals of each client.

  2. Scalability: As a business grows, its accounting needs evolve. Online accounting services are inherently scalable, allowing businesses to easily adjust the level of support and services they receive as their requirements change.

Online personal accountants in the UK present a compelling alternative to traditional walk-in accountants, particularly in terms of cost-efficiency and time-saving benefits. By leveraging technology, offering flexible pricing models, and providing accessible and personalized services, online accountants cater to the dynamic needs of modern businesses and individuals. As the financial landscape continues to evolve, the shift towards online accounting services is likely to accelerate, offering clients a more efficient, secure, and convenient way to manage their financial affairs.

Some Important FAQs about Accountants' Charges

Q1: What factors determine the cost of an accountant for a personal tax return in the UK? A: The cost can be influenced by the complexity of your financial situation, the type of tax return required, the accountant's experience and qualifications, and the geographical location.

Q2: Are there any additional charges for late filing of a tax return by an accountant?

A: Yes, accountants may charge extra fees for late filing due to the additional work and urgency involved.

Q3: Do accountants in the UK offer discounts for repeat clients?

A: Some accountants may offer discounts or preferential rates for repeat clients or long-term engagements.

Q4: Can the cost of hiring an accountant be claimed as a tax-deductible expense in the UK?

A: Yes, in some cases, the cost of hiring an accountant for business-related tax matters can be claimed as a deductible expense.

Q5: How do accountants in the UK charge for additional services like financial advice or bookkeeping?

A: Additional services are typically charged either on an hourly basis or as a fixed fee, depending on the nature of the service.

Q6: Are online accountants generally cheaper than traditional walk-in accountants in the UK?

A: Online accountants can be cheaper due to lower overhead costs, but this isn't always the case.

Q7: Do accountants charge more for complex tax situations like foreign income or capital gains?

A: Yes, more complex tax situations typically require additional work and expertise, which can lead to higher fees.

Q8: Is it more cost-effective to hire an accountant early in the financial year?

A: Hiring an accountant early can sometimes be cost-effective as it allows for better financial planning and can avoid rush fees closer to tax deadlines.

Q9: Do accountants in the UK offer fixed packages for personal tax returns?

A: Many accountants offer fixed-price packages, which include a set list of services for a predetermined fee.

Q10: Are there any hidden fees when hiring an accountant for a personal tax return? A: Reputable accountants should disclose all fees upfront, but it's important to ask about potential additional charges like those for complex transactions or additional consultations.

Q11: Can the fee for an accountant vary based on the tax filing method (paper vs. digital)? A: Yes, some accountants may charge differently based on the filing method, especially if one method requires more time or resources.

Q12: Do accountants in urban areas like London charge more than those in rural areas? A: Typically, accountants in urban areas, especially in London, charge higher fees due to higher operational costs and demand.

Q13: How does the experience level of an accountant affect their fees?

A: More experienced accountants often charge higher fees due to their expertise and ability to handle complex tax situations.

Q14: Is there a difference in cost for self-employed individuals versus employed individuals?

A: Yes, self-employed individuals might incur higher fees due to the complexity and additional work involved in their tax returns.

Q15: Can I negotiate the fee with my accountant for personal tax returns?

A: Fees may be negotiable, especially for ongoing services or multiple services contracted together.

Q16: Are there any subscription-based accounting services for personal tax in the UK? A: Yes, some online accounting firms offer subscription-based models that cover ongoing accounting needs.

Q17: How do accountants charge for responding to HMRC inquiries on behalf of a client? A: This is usually charged either as part of a service package or separately based on the time and effort involved.

Q18: Can I get a discount on accounting fees for referring other clients?

A: Some accounting firms offer referral discounts as an incentive for bringing new clients.

Q19: Do accountants in the UK offer payment plans for their fees?

A: Some accountants might offer payment plans, especially for larger or more comprehensive service packages.

Q20: How often do accounting fees for personal tax returns change in the UK? A: Fees can change annually, reflecting changes in the market, inflation, and regulatory changes.

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