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{30/01/2013}   Tax returns

Tomorrow is the dreaded day when tax returns are due and need to be paid.  This year, more than most, it has filled me with dread for some months.  Oddly, I don’t get annoyed about having to pay all this money, I’ve somehow accepted that that’s just how it is.  It was maybe only for the first year or two of being self-employed that I thought about what I could have bought with the money I had to send to the Inland Revenue.  I have now been self-employed for 11 years and you’d think I’d learnt to organise myself and put money aside every month so my January and July tax bills don’t seem to come as a surprise to me.  Yeah, right!

A lot of friends who are self-employed also seem to be struggling to pay this tax bill, but for me the worry is more the realisation that I am truly useless with money and would probably cope a lot better being employed.  I have often thought I should put away about a quarter of each month’s salary into a tax account.  I have a tax account but it remains largely static until I have a panic and suddenly transfer all money I have available into that account.  I then tend to “borrow” from that account and not pay it back.  Then comes the surprise at having a tax bill which isn’t covered by my tax account!  I know I’m not the only one to do this so I don’t feel as bad as I could, maybe should.

As for the actual tax return, I always plan to get all my paperwork together in May to send off.  By November, I’m usually ready to send it off to my accountant.  I like having an accountant but I get annoyed that I still have to do the same amount of paperwork and receipt information as when I used to do it myself.  However, she does find other things I can use as expenses and she has given me lots of references for house moves, which prior to having an accountant always made moving house even more complicated and stressful.  As I do not keep track of my earnings, each month being so completely different, I get a little buzz of anticipation when I find out the year’s salary, though that buzz is always deflated when I then scan down to the more significant line, the bit about how much I need to cobble together to pay my bill!

I have never had a permanent job in the UK, only temp work and being self-employed, and I do usually feel envious of friends who get paid holidays and sick pay and don’t have to keep their receipts and who don’t have to pay tax on their monthly income, it of course having already been deducted.  I know there are advantages to being self-employed but around January and, to a lesser extent, July, I do not see those benefits and I do not feel the love for being self-employed.

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