Tax advisor sole trader

By : Forum Member
Published 21st December 2018 |
Read latest comment - 16th February 2019

Hello and thank you for being here.

I am hoping someone on this forum will give me some answers regarding the business that i am trying to set. 

I worked for many years as an assistant in an accountancy firm that was mainly dealing with tax returns for individuals and companies. 

I have learned the job quite well and would like to open my own business doing the same. The thing is i have no idea about the legal requirements in becoming a tax advisor or a tax agent to be able to charge for my services.

Do i need profeasional qualifications to do this legally? Do i need a license? Pay some fees? Register somewhere?  

I know my previous employer was a certified accountant but did not have any other qualifications or licenses. 

Please help me sort this out. I do not want to start something that is not in accordance with the current law.

Thank you.

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Hi Dulcika

I'm not an accountant or tax advisor, but I assume at the very least you are a competent bookkeeper. Calling yourself a tax advisor can be dangerous for you and your clients if you are not 100% sure of what you are doing. You don't need to be a certified accountant to be able to prepare accounts for small businesses and sole traders, but I would certainly want reassurance you were trained and qualified before entertaining the idea of hiring you.

The sort of questions you are asking suggests you are not that experienced, so maybe do some research and enroll on a course at night school or online to give yourself some credibility.

Would you want an plumber round your house who had "learned the job quite well", versus one that was experienced, qualified and preferably a member of a trade body or professional organisation?

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

Hi Steve,

Thank you for your comment. I do plan to get formal qualifications in future and am planning to get as much training as possible. I did learn a lot while working in this field and was thinking i can start working for myself while studying to get those qualifications.

I may seem unexperienced and yes i still have a lot to learn as i am a perfectionist but i have asked these questions as i am not 100% familiar with the uk law regarding this. I have never thought about working for myself before and never though to do any research about it. 

I have since then contacted hmrc and they are guiding me how to become an agent. I mainly want to deal with tax returns and a few other small things at the beginning and extend my services as i get qualified and trained.

You have been very helpful. Thank you.


Wish you all the best in your endeavours  

Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn

A bit of a late reply ...

As an accountant with over 30 years experience, my advice is to get a qualification first before providing services. If you are providing any service you need professional indemnity insurance (it's around £100 maybe cheaper) that protects you from a client trying to sue you.

ICB & AAT are two very good qualifications that are modular so you could get through those quite quickly (all my staff have either of these). You will also get a lot of support (especially from your local ICB branch) on starting out as a bookkeeper.

If you are looking for cheap software try VT transaction - it's the best software (but not cloud based).

Hope that helps.

Traynor Accounting Ltd

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