Looking for Accountants in Bristol?
Bristol is a thriving, colorful city that is home to over 442,000 residents, and the city ranked #7 in terms of new businesses (a 22.8% increase between 2004 and 2013). Bristol also ranked among the top 10 in new homes during this same timespan.
And many of these residents and businesses rely on the many accountants in Bristol to ensure that their taxes are filed properly.
Who Should Get an Accountant?
Everyone can benefit from the help of a qualified accountant, but if you have uncomplicated tax circumstances, you may forgo an accountant. Even those with rather straightforward taxes may be able to save money with the help of an accountant.
If you’re unsure of whether or not you truly need an accountant, the following tips may be helpful. You should get an accountant, if:
- You own a business of any kind.
- You sold real estate in the last tax year.
- You’re currently letting a property.
- You make a lot of money (£100,000+).
- Your tax circumstances have changed in the last year.
- You have a child.
Many online tax programs exist (which a lot of residents use), but these programs often miss vital tax deductions that can save you money. If you have the money to spare, it’s always a wise investment to go to an accountant in Bristol to have your taxes done by a professional – they’re very affordable.
How Much Does an Accountant Cost?
Accountants in Bristol are affordable. Rates in the centre of London are much higher, and can start at £250+ for a straightforward return. If you have a more complicated return that includes letting a property, capital gains or overseas income, the cost can be £500+. You’ll also have to pay a VAT.
Businesses will have to pay much more than these amounts, but we’re discussing mainly individual tax returns.
You can expect to pay more if there are child tax credits involved as these increase the overall complexity of the tax return. Late taxes will have fines assessed, which are typically £100+. Data collected from numerous tax agencies in Bristol provides a cleared picture of the costs involved with hiring your own accountant:
- High street accountants charge £250 on average.
- Basic self-assessment services (outside of London) quote between £150 – £200.
- One of the biggest firms charges £270 for complex, self-employed tax returns.
If you use a do-it-yourself online service, you may be charged only £50, but this greatly reduces the amount of deductions you would have received with a personal accountant.
Benefits of Having Your Own Accountant
Accountants in Bristol are some of the best in the world, and utilizing the services of these professionals will provide you with a number of benefits, including:
- Save You Time: Accountants will do all of the hard work on your behalf so that you can sit back and relax while they calculate your tax return. Deadlines will also be adhered to at all times, so you never have to worry about paying penalties or fines when using an accountants – unless you’re already late, of course.
- Save You Money: The second most important (aside from accuracy) benefit that an accountant offers is money savings. In most cases, an accountant will find ways to reduce your overall tax requirements to minimise your tax bill.
- Save You from Audits: In the event that your taxes are prepared in error, a tax audit may be assessed. Audits require a lot of paperwork to be provided, and audits are very much a hassle. A tax accountant will ensure all of your taxes are done within the guidelines of the law while also offering audit protection (in most cases).
Accountants know the ever-changing tax codes, and they will do everything in their power to help reduce your tax burden.
Tips to Help Your Accountant
When you show up at your accountant’s office, it’s best to have everything in order so that you can provide him or her with all of the proper documentation. A few tips when going to see your accountant include:
- Providing any deductible information possible.
- Providing receipts, contracts and any other records of money received or spent.
- Seek out an accountant early if you have a complex tax situation.
- Bring your past tax returns with you to your accountant’s office.
Your accountant will tell you what documentation, receipts and other information is needed to complete your tax information properly.
Finding the Right Accountants in Bristol
There are hundreds of accountants just waiting for a client to walk through their doors. Finding the right accountant takes time and patience. You will first want to do your research on the accountant or firm that you choose to do business with.
- Check the Firm’s Status: Did you know that anyone in the United Kingdom can call themselves an accountant? You’ll want to research the professional to see if they are certified by any professional bodies, namely:
- ICAEW Chartered
- ICAEW Service: The ICAEW provides a service to find professionals that are members of the ICAEW so that you can verify your accountant’s credentials.
- Specialization: Accountants are specialists. Many will work primarily with individual tax returns, while others will focus on business taxes. Choosing the right specialisation is very important and can save you a lot of money.
- Reviews: There are many online websites, like Yelp, that provide reviews for accountants, but the site is not as actively used as it is across the pond. Yell has more reviews, and they’re another great resource as well as Google, which provides reviews by real users.
- Experience: One of the most important criteria in the accounting world is experience. An experienced accountant will be able to provide wisdom as well as tax services to further lower your tax burden and possibly help you save money on future tax returns.
Accountants in Bristol are competitive, and I recommend calling several to get a quote on the services that they offer. You’ll find that most accountants will fall within the price range listed above, and that many are stringent on their prices and will not budge due to the amount of time tax returns take. But the cost is well worth the time you save, and the money savings you may incur from finding extra deductions.
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