Yorkshire based chartered accountancy firm Clough & Company is warning people not to be duped into using websites that charge a hefty fee to process the self-assessment tax return ahead of the January 31 cut-off-date.
Nigel Westman, a partner at Clough & Company, said:
“People are being enticed into using these websites that have no official capacity whatsoever, and they are charging up to £1,000 for a service that is actually free if a person files their tax return through the official Revenue & Customs website.
“Although the websites are not illegal, some sites have been designed to look like the Revenue’s, using the same colours and key words to fool people.
“The websites are also paying search engines to push their services to the top of the queue, so when you type ‘tax return submissions’ into Google most of the sponsored results appearing at the top are fee charging websites.
“The Revenue says it is powerless to act unless the website use their logo.
“It’s essential that people avoid these rouge websites to complete their tax returns especially because the individual still has to do all the work themselves anyway submitting the information for the return.”
Taxpayers have until the end of the month to file their self-assessment tax return online for the tax year ending April 5, 2013.
If this deadline is not met they will be fined £100 which will then accrue at a rate of £10 a day after three months.
The self-assessment tax return applies to anyone that is self-employed, company directors, people who earn over £100,000 a year and anyone with income from savings, investment and property.
It also includes anyone who receives child benefit and earns more than £50,000.
“People should file their return for free via the Revenue & Customs website and there is still time to register to do that.
“However, lots of people often need help and advice with their return and they should contact a chartered accountant or qualified tax advisor, not use a dubious website.”