Tax accounting software has its basics in each of the three elements of the title. Accounting being the production of the financial accounts in a template format suitable for the tax system. Tax and tax software denotes the inclusion of the tax rules with software being a description of the fact that the process is automated.
Self employed accounting
To be most effective the self employed accounts should be in a format that can eventually be used by the accounts program to produce the financial information required to complete the tax returns. Since in the UK as in many countries there are several types of tax returns then the accounting software should cope with all variations.
Database accounting software is frequently based upon a chart of accounts which is not necessarily tax return friendly. Accounting template spreadsheets being more fixed in nature do offer an opportunity to be tax friendly.
Facility should be available to distinguish between revenue transactions and the purchase of fixed assets as fixed assets are treated differently for tax purposes being subject to capital allowances which are tax allowances written off against the net taxable profit according to the tax rules as opposed to being able to deduct the whole cost of that asset in the one financial year.
Income Tax and Vat Tax Return Software
In the UK the self employed accounts need to supply the numbers for up to three different variations of the self employed tax return. One of two tax returns has to be completed each financial year, those returns being known as the short tax return and the full tax return which have replaced the self assessment tax return.
The short tax return is completed according to the sales turnover of the business. Less detail then the full return is required with only totals required for businesses with a sales turnover under 30,000 pounds.
In addition to the financial year end tax return self employed business whose sales are above the vat threshold must also complete a quarterly vat return. With various types of vat schemes available the accounts package and tax software should be capable of dealing with different vat schemes.
Database accounting packages invariably have the facility to deal with value added tax and various schemes where other types of accounting software may be limited. It is important that tax accounting software provides the user with the specific tax accounting requirements.
To be effective in satisfying the description of tax software the system should also include the tax rates and rules applicable. The tax accounting can then take those tax rates and produce an estimate of the potential tax liability which is a principal concern of all self employed business when the time for filing taxes approaches.
The term software indicates automation based upon data input which the computer package then processes to produce the desired output. Tax software produces the tax requirements of the user.
A tax accounting software package takes the prime financial transactions, converts those numbers to the format required to produce the year end self employed tax returns and quarterly vat returns as required. In addition the tax software function would also use the tax rates to automatically calculate the income tax and national insurance liability.