Warning on out-of-date self-help tax guides

Anyone wanting some assistance with filing a tax return has been warned to look closely at self-help guides, after high street retailer W H Smith was found to be selling a publication which is five years out of date

This raises the possibility that anyone following its filing pack could inadvertently include errors which would result in an HMRC fine. 

The booklet, called ‘Do-it-yourself Tax Return Organiser’ promises purchasers it will help with getting their paperwork and figures in order for their self assessment tax return for both 2014 and 2015. It promises ‘tax saving tips to reduce your tax bill’ and says users can ‘save on accountancy fees’.

The publication, priced at £24.99, was spotted on the shelves of the W H Smith branch in Sevenoaks at the weekend by Phil Hall, head of public affairs & public policy at the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), who says it was also being sold online.

‘Selling the public a DIY self-assessment kit that’s five years out of date beggars belief. There’s been various tax changes since then, not least numerous changes to the annual allowance, so any member of the public using these could find themselves getting into a real mess, and potentially facing an HMRC fine as a result.

‘I’ve brought this issue to WH Smith’s attention and am pleased they have agreed to withdraw these from sale as a matter of urgency. If a member of the public needs help with their tax return I’d suggest going to a qualified professional such as an AAT licensed accountant,’ Hall said.

A spokesman for W H Smith said the error was a ‘one off’ and that the product had since been removed from the shelves.

He said: ‘In error this product code had not been removed from our stock system. This is an isolated issue. We take our responsibility for the products we sell very seriously and we are removing this product from sale immediately.’

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