Personal and Business Online Tax Accounts – Keep it simple!

In Advice and tips by Caroline

Have you put off opening a Tax account online? Did you know that it’s easier to do and use than you think? It’s HMRC’s aim to move everyone to online tax accounts, so don’t keep putting it off. Keep reading to find out what other’s think about it.

The roll-out of HMRC’s personal and business tax accounts started back in 2016. Three years on, HMRC are aware of confusion amongst taxpayers, particularly where taxpayers are also business owners. This uncertainty spurred HMRC to commission a research study to gain insight into preferences and understanding within this group.

HMRC published the results in a report Understanding the experience of online tax account users in August 2019.

The key highlights of the report:

  • The research showed that taxpayers using a business or personal tax account were overall satisfied.
  • The confusion wasn’t as significant an issue as surmised. However, ease of use and simplicity were found to be key
  • Most users were able to effectively carry out tasks, logging in to complete their tasks and logging out without further browsing.
  • Privacy and security concerns would be the main barriers to Introducing a single tax account to cover personal and business matters.
  • Most respondents would visit their account when they needed to complete a task.
  • The primary source of frustration relating to the accounts was around logging in and remembering the different details for each personal and business account.

Future developments

The reports indicated that simplifying the user journey within tax accounts could be advantageous. Users would like to see improved signposting between accounts and functions to ease potential stress in finding crucial areas when deadlines are approaching. Changes to terminology across personal and business accounts to provide a consistent approach were flagged as a possible way to create ease of use.

Overall people are happy to use an online account as long as it is simple to use. Tax is seen as an obligation, not a priority, and so logging in, completing a task efficiently, and logging out is the main objective for most people.

If you need help to open or manage your online tax account then please get in touch with our experts at Barnett Ravenscroft, we’re here to help.