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A tax agent is someone who deals with HMRC on your behalf. You're basically authorising them to discuss your affairs with the taxman. Technically, you could authorise someone like a friend or relative to be your official agent. People sometimes do that when they're ill or otherwise unable to handle HMRC themselves. For things like tax rebates and Self Assessment returns, though, people generally turn to the professionals.
Of course, it's possible to muddle through without an agent at all, if you like shuffling your own paperwork. Then again, if you don't know your way around HMRC, you might end up missing out on a refund, finding yourself having to sort out being chosen for an HMRC enquiry or getting tangled up in the Self Assessment system.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when you're choosing a tax agent:
There are, of course, plenty of laws and regulations about this sort of thing. HMRC really doesn't like it when they suspect an agent is trying to put one over on them. That means you've got to be wary of agents making offers that are literally too good to be true.
The point of tax rebate claims and Self Assessment help is to make sure you pay exactly the right amount of tax. HMRC will never deliberately try to cheat you, and they expect the same level of care and honesty from your agent.
No. A tax agent can take a lot of weight of HMRC paperwork off your shoulders, but there are some things you need to do personally.
The most important official forms you'll have to sign are:
Those rules may seem annoying but they are actually there for your own protection. It's about keeping you safe from fraud, so run a mile if your ''agent'' offers to handle those signatures for you.
The thing about accountants is that they're the General Practitioners of the financial world. They can do a lot of different things, but they don't really specialise in any one field. When you're dealing with complex areas like tax rebates and CIS returns, those tiny details can really matter. A lot of traditional accountants simply don't have the specialist industry knowledge to do a great job on a construction tax refund, for instance. That means missing out on money you're owed or, worse still, claiming for things you aren't entitled to.
As the UK's leading tax experts, RIFT has specialist teams to take care of every aspect of your tax refunds or returns. We don't miss the fine details and we never claim for anything you aren't owed. Crucially, we also back up our work with our unique RIFT Guarantee. Once we've worked out your refund, we'll stand by it even if the taxman changes his mind. As long as you've played fair with us, anything HMRC demands back will come out of our pockets, not yours!
Wondering if you can claim a tax refund or need to submit a tax return? Use our online tools to find out if you're owed money by HMRC.Do I Qualify?
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