Saving for Tax - Our plan

The first part of our Saving for Tax experience is coming very soon! We couldn’t be more excited to get this into your hands, and so we’re taking a step-by-step approach to ensure we can deliver this as quickly as possible. But first I wanted to share a little more about our approach to Saving for Tax and how we plan to solve some really big problems for you, our customers.

Our overarching vision as a company is to make self-employment easier than being employed. We want to make it much easier to run your self-employed business and ensure you have better financial security than if you were an employee.

One of the biggest benefits of being employed is that you never have to worry about paying your taxes - they just happen. So we want to build an experience where you, as a business owner, don’t have to worry about your taxes either.

What we are setting out to do is very ambitious and it will take us well into 2021 to achieve it all, but we also want to get it right. And breaking it up into smaller parts that we release over time will allow us to get your feedback along the way.

Our vision for this experience

Setting money aside for tax and then paying your tax bill today is complicated. We spoke to lots of self-employed people and everyone has quite similar challenges:

  • There’s a lot of uncertainty around how much to set aside. Coconut provides you with a tax estimate, but not guidance on how much money you should be setting aside routinely to ultimately pay your bill.
  • People have cobbled together solutions involving spreadsheets and multiple bank accounts that move money from one account to another so they can leave it untouched.
  • People do many different things to ensure they don’t forget to do it!
  • More often than not people are surprised (although Coconut customers are less so because of the live tax estimate :wink: ) by how much they owe HMRC.

We really believe it doesn’t need to be this complicated. Our approach is simple:

  • We’ll let you know how much money you should be setting aside and automatically move that money to a tax vault for you, in a way you always have control over.
  • You’ll never have to worry if you’re setting aside the right amount.
  • You don’t have to remember to do it; we’ll do it for you and let you know that it’s happened.
  • If you don’t have a current account with us, that’s also fine. You’ll be able to do this from any bank account in the UK.
  • You’ll be able to pay your tax bill, on time and without worry.

All of this from within the Coconut app.

Our rollout plan

  1. First to launch will be the new Tax Vault, where you will be able to manually set money aside based on your tax estimate. This will only be available to Coconut current account holders and those who opt in to our beta testing programme which you can do via this form. This release will be ready shortly.
  2. Shortly after that we’ll roll the feature out more widely (to all Coconut Current Account holders on the Grow plan) and launch CoPilot. CoPilot is our smart saving mechanism that will start moving money into your Tax Vault based on your income automatically, or by prompting you to do so if you choose to do it yourself. Either way, we’ll always let you know how much is going to be moved and give you the opportunity to amend or skip a ‘save’.
  3. We will then extend CoPilot to bank accounts beyond Coconut. So if you choose to bank with Barclays, Starling or any one of the 20+ banks we integrate with, you’ll still be able to take advantage of our Saving for Tax experience.
  4. We have plans to continue to improve the accuracy of our tax estimate, including building support for Payments on Account and manual transactions.
  5. And finally, we want to make it possible for you to pay your tax bill directly from within Coconut.

How do I participate in the Beta program?

For now, you will need to be on our Grow subscription to participate.

Please let us know your account details via this form and we’ll take it from there.

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Great work Coconut. Really excited to see and use this feature.

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So. Excited. Literally just signed up for the Grow plan so I could apply for the Beta!

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This sounds like a really useful feature! One of the limitations of a similar feature from the bank I use is that it doesn’t take into consideration expenses. So if I make a profit, I should x% aside for tax but if my expenses eat into those profits, the tax that’s no longer due isn’t transferred back into my main account. Which ultimately means my tax vault has more money in it than it should. It’d be great if you could handle that scenario too.

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Yes we’ve been thinking about this. On Day 1 we won’t have an elegant solution to this, but getting really accurate (by taking into account expenses) is something we have on the cards.

Cheers for the feedback Alex

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The only thing I am worried about is paying NI, I trust the coconut estimate to be close for tax outstanding but that’s all it says. I would also like it to tell me if and how much money I need for NI contributions which may apply as a sole trader and as an employee on my day job and my weekend job.

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Just to add to Kevin’s point - Student Loans should also be handled. That’s a potential extra 9% that needs saving if someone is repaying a loan (so would need to be optional and kept up to date as the repayment threshold shifts if possible).

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Hey Dee – Yes absolutely.

FYI – you can add that against your Tax Profile in the app today (which then gets factored into your tax estimate). Head into the Taxes tab and you’ll see a Tax Profile in the top right.

Russ

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Thanks - I did spot that. Just gone back to uni so personally won’t need it until I graduate but it’s very much on my mind!

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