I understand the idea of DIY. Not necessarily to save money, but it seems almost lazy to have someone else do something that I can do myself. It isn’t necessarily the best use of time and we have to be careful not to exceed our own skill or knowledge base.

Tax doesn’t have to be taxing (unless you live in the UK) but tax is not straightforward. Add to this the mass of accounting rules on which many accountants would not necessarily agree and I do not understand why anyone would choose to do their own accounts and file their own tax returns – and sleep well.

The amount of misconception that we see amongst normal people who seek advice is likely to be repeated in the population that are self reliant. Our tax system is becoming increasingly draconian as HMRC recognise that self assessment does not equate to Shangri-la, where everyone is honest and gets it right – a ridiculous concept in the first place without adding, nay, piling on complication after complication. In this circumstance it is surprising that anyone risks doing it themselves.

Perhaps there is a misconception about errors and penalties. To the average person an innocent error or misunderstanding is easily rectified. ‘I did my best’ would be most people’s thought. To HMRC an error (innocent or otherwise) represents carelessness (they should know), which equates to negligence, for which they want a penalty in addition to the under-declared tax and interest on late payment. Good luck everyone.