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Online filing for SA returns ' do I need software ?

I am a sole practitioner, and normally prepare in the region of 100 SA returns each year using PTP Tax Return software. I am considering moving over to online filing for 2005/06 returns, but don't really know much about it.

PTP sell software for this at £99 per year ' is this worth the money ? Do I really need this software to enable me to file online ?

I would be grateful to receive any help / guidance AND recommendations.

David

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By Anonymous
20th Mar 2006 19:23

YES
I too am a sole practitioner who uses PTP and tried the online filing last year. I wish I'd done it earlier.

It is truly fantastic - so easy to use and so quick. It saves all the hassle of posting Returns and the speed at which refunds are paid to clients is amazing.

I was uncertain like you before I paid up but it really was money well spent.

If you are considering online filing paying the extra is the only sensible option - HMR&C version is PAINFUL and you couldnt sensibly use it.

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By frauke
20th Mar 2006 19:30

Filing on line
I don't pay for software, but make a point of filing all my returns as early as possible. If you can file before December 31, there aren't any problems.

Trying to file in January can be a problem - I have warned clients that if they leave it until after December 31 they will have to pay an extra fee. January is too stressful to have to do tax returns as well!

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21st Mar 2006 15:31

I'm in!
Thought i'd just say that I've used PTP tax platform for some years now & have just taken the plunge today & ordered my FBI module @ a cost of £99. PTP's support is always excellent & I'm very happy to pay the extra for on-line filing as I'm hoping it's going to be as quick as "pushing a button" to file SA's on-line, rather than the time-consumomg & laboured HMRC's version.

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21st Mar 2006 12:14

Online filing with PTP software
Just to clarify, with PTP you could purchase any or all of the programs within our platform product(including Tax Return, Partnership Return and Trust Return)dependant on your requirements. Each of these is priced seperately. There is an additional cost to enable you to file online this includes all of the products within the platform that you have opted for (see above). The cost of online filing is £99 in the first year and £75 for each year after that. If anyone has any queries please call our helpline on 01865 370470 and we will quite happily go through the details with you on how to file succesfully and quickly.

Dave Frost
Sales Manager
PTP Software

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21st Mar 2006 12:54

Explain please
Dave, or anyone else, can you explain why PTP software is better and time-saving compared to HMRC software? Thanks.

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21st Mar 2006 14:01

Online Filing a must
I've got to agree with Nicola - decent software is a 'no brainer' and the Online Filing capability is a must! We use Digita Taxability Pro, a cracking product and the Online filing facility with built in validation checks prior to submitting make it a breeze to use at any time of the year - they don't charge any extra for Filing By Internet either!

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21st Mar 2006 16:56

Online Filing
Dear Mr Collier

I appreciate that filing via the HMRC site may suit some and I am not trying to suggest ours is the only alternative, just that filing from within a 3rd party software program works very well for many accountants.

I suspect that one of the main reasons is the lack of duplication of work and therefore the reduction in the possibility for errors. Our system stores the information in a database that can be rolled forward year on year. To use the HMRC site you would have to key in the data on a client by client basis each year.

If anyone would like any further info about how our system works and the benefits please contact me directly.

Regards

Dave Frost
Sales Manager
01865 309804

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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2006 11:19

Try it
I have no connection with PTP apart from being a very satisfied end user and all I'd say is try it.

Using HMR&C online filing is a bit like driving a 1960's family saloon slow and it gets there..eventually, maybe, with one or two breakdowns on the way. Using a professionally written package is like hoping into the 2006 Ferrari - it WILL get there and very quickly!

Sorry I have a love of automobiles! Seriously you should try it - I am sure PTP will gladly send you a free demo.

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22nd Mar 2006 12:34

Why?
David, the reason why is control, time saving and presentation.

We use Sage Personal Tax. We have simple entry screens, a databsaase of all UK dividends paid to check Investment income, all standing data re employers, trade, partnerships, property shares etc brought forward from year to year. We can print an individual summary and detailed sheets for a printed record for ourselves and the client. We can file instantly once agreed.

I expect all the other packages offer similar functions.

I used the IR site for myself and my wife as a test, it is just not worth the effort

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By frauke
22nd Mar 2006 14:51

Costs
I thought I'd take a look, as for £99 it may be worth the investment - but £99 is only for up to 25 returns - its £199 for up to £50

In addition its £99.00 to be able to file on line.

So its actually £198 to do up to 25 returns for individuals, and £298 for up 50 returns. As I'm not VAT registered - the VAT is an additional cost. So it would work out at £232.65 for up to 25 tax returns and £350.15 for up to 50 returns.

I suppose if I had a large number of more complicated (tax) high net worth clients it would be worth the investment.

If you already use the software - then the additional cost is worth it.

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21st Mar 2006 08:20

Agree with Nicola
I use PTP and FBI filing, it just makes it so easy. You should really see the benefit next year as ALL your client's details are already in PTP.

For the sake of £100, it really is worthwhile, especially for clients who are expecting a refund.

And on the rare occassions I've used their helpdesk (usually me that's cocked things up!), they've been very helpful and quick.

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By Anonymous
22nd Mar 2006 23:14

Look past the intial price
You are focusing too much on the price of the software - think of actual total cost.

Complete a tax return and file it online uisng the HMR&C facility - time how long you take and consider the fee you charge v using a professional package.

Using a professional package is truly not more expensive considering all the costs.

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23rd Mar 2006 15:24

Go for it
David

We’ve been using PTP for years. Electronic filing was one of two key reasons why we decided to computerise our tax returns in the first place. We used ELS up to the 2004 returns, and have used FBI for 2005.

We paid PTP £99 the first year, and £75 every year since then. We could use the Inland Revenue’s website for free – but we wouldn’t. First of all, image the cost of re-keying 100 Tax Returns into HMRC’s website. The cost of PTP’s software for you would be less than £1 a return – well it will cost you much more than £1 a return in terms of time to re-key the date. Secondly, if you re-key data there’s bound to be some re-keying errors. Thirdly (and I might be wrong here) I think the online software (PTP etc) use a slightly different system to the website, so when the website grinds to a snail’s pace the likes of PTP still flies through. This year all the online filed returns were transmitted and accepted in seconds – yes seconds.

PTP works like a dream – so I’d definitely recommend using the online filing add-on. I’m not connected with PTP, just a long-standing very satisfied customer

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23rd Mar 2006 15:43

PTP online filing
I filed 108 returns online for the first time last year, and the extra cost was more than worth it. The savings in postage, envelopes and processing errors by HMRC was worth twice the cost, not to mention the speed of issue of refunds. My only grumble would be the difficulties with HMRC servers during the year, and the slight learning curve with a small number of rejections. I would not consider going back to snail mail!

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24th Mar 2006 08:45

PTP
We've used PTP since 1997/98 and found it excellent and quite reasonably priced. I've not personally used any other tax return package since the mid 90's so can't comment on PTPs competitors but the fact that we've never considered moving must say something.

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24th Mar 2006 10:58

Online filing of ITR's
I use Drummohr and find it excellent.

They are particularly quick at reponding when you need help.

I also endorse the savings and improved efficiency of using this software. It certainly does pay for itself & it checks you as you input the Return information.

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By Anonymous
20th Mar 2006 23:56

Logic!?
I can just NEVER understand some people who fail to see the real cost of decent software.

In business you surely want to maximise returns. Why on earth waste time using free software such as that from HMR&C when for £99 you can file online literally at the click of a button and probably complete another Return in the time it takes to use the Revenue software. It truly is a waste.

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By cbales
24th Mar 2006 18:03

TAXCALC 2006
I tested Taxcalc 2003 for about 15% of Return forms and did the rest using TPT software. Why? - because TPT, although good, was becoming a significant cost for a small practice. The result speaks for itself in that I changed to TaxCalc exclusively for 2004 returns.

Most know about the Intuit decision to ditch TaxCalc but the team who took it on at very short notice was and still is headed by the person who ran with it for Intuit - a tax practitioner.

The 2005 software had some limitations but I decided to stay with it and I'm convinced I made the right decision. Online filing was an absolute doddle for the 2004 and the 2005 software AND ITS ALL IN THE VERY REALISTIC PRICE YOU PAY FOR THE VERSION YOU WANT. Its already approved by the Inland Revenue for online filing for 2006 returns.

Follow http://www.taxcalc.co.uk to see the various versions and the prices for 2006. I'm staying with it for 2006 as it will do all that we need (Individuals, sole traders, partnerships, CT600's and online filing together with more) for £275 + VAT.

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20th Mar 2006 20:39

Answering a slightly different question
Agree with comments about HMRC's SA online filing. It is fine for an individual user but heavy going if you have a large number of returns to submit. Additionally they don't make the SA800 partnership return available (although you'd have to pay extra to PTP for that anyway).

I do use HMRC's CT600. Certainly not fault free but it does the job.

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21st Mar 2006 09:50
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