While some accounting and tax software endeavor to offer an all encompassing approach to a small business’ finances, being all things to all people (or at least tax filers), GoSimpleTax zags against this. Their goal, as their name suggests is simplicity, with a laser focused tool that is designed to be stress free, and allows just about anyone to complete their tax return.
GoSimpleTax is a relative newcomer to the tax scene, having been established in 2013. While the company is a more recent entry to the segment, they are still veterans at taxes claiming over 100 years of accounting industry experience. Its software gets used by over 6,000 individuals and businesses to complete their tax returns without an accountant.
GoSimpleTax offers a variety of tiers to access their software. Pricing is based on either an annual subscription fee, or for a non-subscription purchase. While there is no free tier, there is a no obligation trial that does not require a credit card, and lasts for 14 days.
The starter tier is the Silver one which allows the user to submit a return to the HRMC, to view and print tax calculations, to download Form R40, use the mobile app, and scan receipts. It is designed to handle many routine tax returns including a Basic Tax Return (SA100), Employment (SA102), Self Employment (SA103), Partnership (SA104), and Property (SA105). The subscription price is £30 per tax year, or a one time, non-subscription purchase of £50, including VAT.
Moving up a notch takes us to the Gold tier, which starts with all the features of the lower tier. Additional functions include support for Ministers of Religion (SA102M), Foreign income (SA106), Trusts (SA107), Capital Gains (SA108) and Residency (SA109). The subscription price is £36 each tax year, and the non-subscription cost is £60. There is also a volume discount on this plan, for example two returns cost £54.
An additional option is the SA8000 Partnerships tier, and can submit directly to HRMC. Other included features are the Partnership Tax Return (SA800), Property Income (SA801), Foreign Income (SA802), Disposal of Assets (SA803), Investments Income (SA804), and to Auto populate a partner’s SA104. Partners can be added at anytime, and the cost is £48 each tax year for the subscription, and the non-subscription price is the same, which includes the VAT.
GoSimpleTax designed their software to accommodate a variety of user’s needs. Platform choices include a cloud based option via a web browser interface, or apps for both the Android and iOS platforms. A major advantage of this SaaS approach is that the software can be updated at the server, unburdening the end user from worrying about any downloading and installing any updates.
We have to admit that being a tax veteran with over two decades of downloadable software experience, and looking for larger monitors and more robust computers through the years for a more efficient tax return process, we were a little put off with the idea of using a smartphone to complete a more complicated tax return. However, as millenials grow up, and drive the market, companies will respond to these needs by providing useful apps to solve problems, and GoSimpleTax clearly fits into this category.
Rather than completing a daunting pile of forms, this software guides a user through the process of entering their tax data into their return, with benefits of time savings, and ease of use. GoSimpleTax also checks the return for errors, ready to give notifications if a potential issue is detected, to avoid any potential penalties. It is also on the lookout for opportunities to lower the tax bill, and can create reports in an automated fashion.
Another burden of tax filing is keeping up with the deadlines to file, and pay, on time. GoSimpleTax incorporates useful reminders to help with calendar management, and make sure that all deadlines are met, to avoid any issues with late payments.
A large part of filing a tax return are the expenses. Tracking them and entering them can be labor intensive, and many folks go to meet their accountant with a shoebox full of receipts collected over the entire year. One of GoSimpleTax’s innovative features is the ability to scan those receipts. Once through the scanning process, the receipts are part of your accounting records, and ready to be uploaded to the HRMC. The receipts can also be easily categorized, and the expenditures over the last financial year can be reviewed, applied as expenses, and even can be specified as to what percentage of the costs should be applied as a tax expense, rather than for private use.
Support is available, with inquiries answered online promptly, often in an hour timeframe. However, there is no dedicated phone support.
Realistically, nobody is ever going to say they enjoyed doing their taxes, but with GoSimpleTax we can certainly state that it is less of a burden- and this is about the best we can hope for.
Pluses include the SaaS approach, the modest cost, free trial, and receipt scanning functionality. Minuses include the lack of a free tier for simpler returns, no accounting functions, and no integration into a larger ecosystem of financial tools to support small businesses other than categorizing expenses.
At the end of the day, for UK tax filers with a basic to more intermediate return, and a desire to complete it across a choice of cross platform devices, GoSimpleTax offers a compelling solution.