Coconut launches VAT feature to ease admin headaches for UK’s self-employed

By Roger Baird on Wednesday 17 July 2019

Digital Banking

The London-based start up said the move will ease the introduction of new HMRC rules requiring small firms to submit digital VAT records.

Coconut launches VAT feature to ease admin headaches for UK’s self-employed
Image source: Coconut.

Banking and accountancy app Coconut has introduced a value-added tax (VAT) management feature aimed at easing admin for Britain’s booming ranks of self-employed workers.

The London-based startup said the move is designed to help with HM Revenue and Customs Making Tax Digital initiative, introduced on 1 April this year, which requires digital VAT records from firms with revenues of more than £85,000 a year.

Co-founder and chief executive Sam O’Connor (pictured, left) said: “Making Tax Digital is the biggest shake-up to the UK tax system since self-assessment was introduced in the late 90s and we want to help make the switch is as easy as possible for our customers.”

The UK’s self-employed, increasingly called the gig economy, has more than doubled in size over the past three years and now accounts for 4.7 million workers, according to a study from the TUC and academics at the University of Hertfordshire released last month.

Generational shift

The gig economy, typified by such firms as Deliveroo and Uber, describes the trend of companies hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees.

Coconut said: “Self-employment and entrepreneurship is the biggest shift in the way we work for a generation, and we’re building Coconut to be the platform to enable this economy to boom.”

The fintech’s apps also provides guidance on expenses, invoicing and other business finance tools for sole traders and small firms for a fee of up to £5 a month.

Coconut was founded by Sam O’Connor and Adam Goodall (pictured, right) in 2015, who first met 10 years ago when they trained as accountants at PwC.

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