FreeAgent to offer SA tax filing

The cloud accounting application FreeAgent Central will move into tax preparation in January when it launches a new module capable of compiling and filing self assessment tax returns.

The program, which won AccountingWEB’s 2013 Software Satisfaction Award for small business accounts, is widely used by sole traders, freelancers, contractors and one-person limited companies. The new feature has already received a warm welcome from this group, but FreeAgent is also pitching it at the accounting profession as a mechanism to manage freelance clients’ accounts and returns during the busy self assessement deadline rush in January.

There will be no extra charge for the service, which is bundled into the web-based system.

“This is us trying to get something out there to help with SA season,” said FreeAgent founder Ed Molyneux...

Continued...

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Comments
johnjenkins's picture

So John    2 thanks

johnjenkins | | Permalink

How long before HMRC have a cloud based system that will do away with Accountants and we are only left with Tax specialists.

Of course, whilst a nice idea    2 thanks

Michael C Feltham | | Permalink

Of course, whilst a nice idea, all of this presumes the user actually knows what they are doing....

In my own - significant - experience of SMEs from Micro Enterprises through Class Size Zero to above and beyond, a majority haven't a wee clue.

I am presently embroiled in trying with great difficulty, to unravel the affairs of a close company: the "Accounts" were prepared  by a series of bookkeepers using Sage.

The latest, replete with certificates in Sage competency doesn't even know the singular difference between Revenue and Capital items!

'Twas ever thus.

Since I am old enough, sadly, to have cut my teeth on mainframes, the old acronym GIGO, holds true more than ever today.

 

carnmores's picture

@Michael

carnmores | | Permalink

hope you still have some teeth !

 

@carnmores    1 thanks

Michael C Feltham | | Permalink

@carnmores

 

Well, just a few.

Many have been lost through the constant knashing process, caused by dealing with such as HMRC!

 

Paul Scholes's picture

Hold on a min    2 thanks

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

Johnjenkins - HMRC already enable people to do their own return and, if you're a company, you can do & submit accounts & tax returns.  Whether we like it or not, (and whether they cock it up or not) that's progress and, in a recent survey, 30% of small businesses don't have an accountant.

It wasn't that long ago I wouldn't have let a client near a VAT return or Payroll, now, I prefer them to do it. As Ed says, what's the difference?

johnjenkins's picture

@Paul

johnjenkins | | Permalink

There is a big difference between some people doing their own returns and all info put on cloud systems by all business for HMRC purposes. Then HMRC issue tax bills on that info and it is up to us to challenge their figures. Won't be long.

Paul Scholes's picture

@John

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

Sorry, I don't understand what you mean.  

All that's being provided above, is the natural extension to bookkeeping to enable tax return preparation & submission, in exactly the same way that Iris, Xero and other providers do at the moment, only in their case, with their large accountant base, they shy away from providing the functionality to the business users.

Are you talking about the ability of the software to transact directly with the government, ie cutting out the middle-person (be they user or accountant)?  If so, that too is a natural progression and will come eventually, just as will supplier & customer computers talking to each other to cut out human intervention.  

Yes, it further cuts down the form-filling, number crunching, compliance role that some of us still rely on but that's been diminishing for 40 years, and I don't see that anything we can do will (or should) stop it.

Apologies if I'm still none the wiser.

On a further comment, I am    1 thanks

Michael C Feltham | | Permalink

On a further comment, I am presently in process of trying to create some logical financial order from a various set of "books" kept by a company.

The earlier years were entered by a general office admin person using Sage; who left.

Another office admin person was engaged and demanded a newer version of Sage "'Cos it's far better!".

Translation: "I only know how to use the new version!"

Yet another move delegates the bookkeeping role to a young man hot from college clutching a Sage Certificate of Competence......... and yet a further version of Sage.

Core problem being he doesn't know the difference between Revenue and Capital and believes credit card balance payments made by the company somehow seem to be expenditure.

And perhaps his best one yet: Director's Loans made to the company have become "Sales"!!

Logically, if a person hasn't a wee clue about correct bookkeeping, then no software system yet invented can work and be accurate.

 

johnjenkins's picture

@Paul

johnjenkins | | Permalink

Spot on. HMRC now have the "bother" of investigating our figures to improve their cash flow. Within the next 10 years it will be the other way round. The article more or less spells that out. I do not think that is NATURAL progression. I'm not a believer in cloud systems. I think the powers that be need to sit down and think about where all this new technology is leading us. Perhaps a few years where we can get used to what's happened already. There just doesn't seem to be a breather. I fully embrace new technology with open arms but we need to slow down and assess what WE really need for the future of Accounting and Taxation.

And for the Americans in the room?

David Treitel | | Permalink

Am I too hopeful to expect that the software will also automatically prepare US individual and US informational tax returns for those several hundred thousands Americans here in the UK?

Wholly different system.

Michael C Feltham | | Permalink

@ David Treitel

 

Wholly different system.

All depends, in any case, whether they are fiscally resident in the UK, really.

Point of interest, TaxCalc was originally a US product, the name licensed by Which when they developed the UK version.

Presumably, US Ex Pats living in the UK part of the year, are tax resident elsewhere?

Any sense and that's Andorra!

Grin!

 

 

carnmores's picture

the early versions of quickbooks

carnmores | | Permalink

Produced a report that could be entered straight onto a tax return as i believe they were going to tie it into their tax product unfortunately that went the way of quicken and was a strategic error as is simple start

@johnkenkins    1 thanks

Michael C Feltham | | Permalink

@johnkenkins

"I'm not a believer in cloud systems. I think the powers that be need to sit down and think about where all this new technology is leading us"

The Cloud is simply an over-hyped techie expression for moving away from servers and web servers being owned, or hosted by a third party, or shared by a third party: and is the logical transition from Data Farms. These are third party operated outsource facilities to store a customer's data, carry out processing and connect to the internet, thus allowing the customer remote access, rather than the customer having to incur the expense of owning and operating their own mass-storage, physically.

In conventional hardware systems, major users could (many still do) operate their own in-house conventional data storage, processing and web servers to connect to the internet access node point.

Cloud Computing uses "Virtuality" as against physical servers: which simply means the data server is a software entity.

All the Cloud does, therefore is to transition data processing and storage into becoming a sort of utility service; and the utility pricing model is exactly how data processing and storage is evolving. You pay for what you use. Same philosophy for application software, such as productivity suites. Which realises the forgotten concept of Applet renting which was going to become the big thing some years back and died.

In other words, the user "rents" Word to write a letter and pays for that one use only.

Thus continuing the utility exemplar, few major companies generate their own electricity (other than emergency stand by back up): they simply buy the delivered product.

As with all technology advances, however, security is still a big issue: operating one's own systems, in-house, allows robust security potential: as any corporate process is outsourced, however, the outsourcer looses significant control.

 

Keep looking for Americans

David Treitel | | Permalink

Michael C Feltham wrote:

@ David Treitel

 

Wholly different system.

All depends, in any case, whether they are fiscally resident in the UK, really.

Point of interest, TaxCalc was originally a US product, the name licensed by Which when they developed the UK version.

Presumably, US Ex Pats living in the UK part of the year, are tax resident elsewhere?

Any sense and that's Andorra!

Grin!

 

 

Michael - We have several hundred thousand American citizens here in the UK including for example such folks as Boris Johnson (born in New York city), Stella McCartney (born in the UK to a US citizen mother) and Harper Seven Beckham (born in Los Angeles). Most UK accountants will naturally find they have a few US citizen clients among their client base; all of whom have mandatory annual US filing obligations in addition to any UK tax returns required.

@ David Treitel

Michael C Feltham | | Permalink

@ David Treitel

Well, David, I have and have had clients with tax reporting obligations in France, Spain and at one time, Australia.

Never had any US citizens though.

From my little experience I would suggest IRS compliance is extremely different to UK: as is French tax reporting compliance.

We tend to enjoy a relationship with local firms, where a client has dual reporting obligations, since it is simply not cost effective to try and adequately comprehend disparate tax codes and laws and purchase discreet tax processing packages for those jurisdictions.

 

Company Tax?

the_Poacher | | Permalink

Here's hoping they do the CT600 etc for free too!

Paul Scholes's picture

Company Tax

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

the_Poacher - as you will need iXBRL accounts as well as the return you may have to wait a bit longer but this is the way that most Cloud systems will go.  If you think about it, as long as you have a suitable nominal structure and the ability to do some notes, producing a set of accounts is not that much more involved than producing a VAT return.

Yes, the person reviewing, correcting and hitting the button has to know what they are doing but, these days, I find the ins & outs of VAT returns (with all the EU stuff) as complicated as a set of stat accounts.