Want to avoid fines for late tax returns? There's an app for that


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The Independent Online

Stricter penalties have come into force for those submitting self-assessment tax return forms late.

With the deadline for paper returns on 31 October, you risk paying £100 if you miss the deadline for paying the tax you owe by one day and a further £10 every day for three months. But help is out there. Smartphone apps have been created that can save you a huge amount of effort.

UK PAYE salary wages NI & tax calculator

Price: £0.69

Available on: iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad

Rating: 7/10

This app lets you to enter as much or as little information as you like including your earnings and if you have a student loan. It then shows you how much you owe from your salary towards each area. It's easy to use and, at 69p, cheap; however, a more detailed version can be found online for free. Not so useful if your income is irregular.

TAX zap UK

Price: Free

Available on: Android

Rating: 6/10

This app calculates your tax payments from your salary. It's also the only app to work backwards from a net figure, eg, your National Insurance tax, to find out the gross payment and give you a breakdown. There is a pro version which has more tax years supported, and a more advanced reverse calculating system, although it does cost 69p. It's worth trying the free version first.

PAYE tax calculator

Price: Free

Available on: Android

Rating: 8/10

Enter your salary and a few other details and this app works out what needs to be paid into each area. It's free so you can have a go without commitment. Some reviewers have noted discrepancies of up to £150 between the results of the app and their own calculations, though. There is no option for tax-deductible items.

expense magic

Price: Free/£2.99 for 20 receipts

Available on: iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad

Rating: 7/10

Take a photo of your receipt and Expense Magic's bookkeepers do the work for you, including sending all the information to your employer. After a few hours they'll confirm it's been processed. This app works well because it relies on real people to do your bookkeeping. If you're overseas then you can use your GPS so that the bookkeepers know to adjust the currency. You can download the app for free, and you get your first five receipts for free, too. However, after that they charge £2.99 for every 20 receipts you send off.

All these applications give you a fairly accurate calculation of your tax payments, but run through the calculations yourself, or have an accountant do it.

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