Tax Return Season

In the midst of the tax return season, I decided to join a bloggers group on Facebook. I guess I’ve been feeling disillusioned with accountancy. Or maybe just overwhelmed and out of my depths for a while and I wanted to do something different. I like writing and blogging was one way I could do this without worrying too much about how it sounds. Recently I’ve been thinking about what to do with my blog and how to justify the time I spend on it. This led me to joining the bloggers group hoping I would get some ideas on how to make my blog better.

An Accountants Help

However, as soon as they found out I was an accountant, I received a few tax return questions. Maybe because it is tax return season that I have a lot of questions but secretly I was so pleased. The questions are really simple questions that I could easily answer. This made me feel really confident in my ability as an accountant also a renewed interest in accountancy.

It made me think about one of the reasons why I chose accountancy in the first place. I remember going to our careers library and thinking what can I do with a maths degree. There were lots of accountancy brochures so I started looking through those. Anyway, in the ACCA brochure, there was an accountant who worked for a football club. As I was still not sure (at 21) what I wanted to do, I thought that this would be a good idea. Once I was fully qualified, I can decide and then go and work for a company I have an interest in.

Back to tax returns

At the time, I wanted to be an accountant for a bookshop. Actually, I could still happily go and work at a bookshop. However, that never happened as I remained in practice for most of my working life. Now though, with this blogging group, I feel inspired to help them with their tax queries and even look into things and find out more if required.  It might only last the tax return season and I still have some tax returns to complete so I should probably focus on that first.

Coming back to reality, as I mentioned in previous blogs, the HMRC queries have still not cleared and its really hard to feel that I am getting anywhere with it. Most of the people I talk to at HMRC seem clueless or so stuck in what feels like scripted answers that I don’t seem to get anywhere.  Letters seem to take forever to get a reply but this seems to be the only way I can get a response that vaguely makes a bit of sense. Another thing that annoys me about HMRC is the inflexibility and lack of understanding they have for the general hard-working tax payers while multinational companies and wealthy celebrities can get away with paradise papers.

I’m discovering though, that there are lots of things about accountancy that I am still good at and I can still be of use to even a small community on Facebook.

Originally posted on https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/community/blogs/lilac1/tax-return-season

 

Claiming just expenses on your tax return

Recently I was asked if they could do a tax return if they didn’t have any sales and just put expenses through. My initial thought was why go through the whole hassle of doing a tax return and the stress of meeting the self-assessment deadline if you don’t have to? With a new business, you can go back up to 7 years to claim your expenses and if you earn less than £1000, you can receive trading allowance before you even need to declare your income.

Technically though you could claim just expenses. There are some restrictions in that you would need to prove to HMRC your business is genuine. You need to do at least 10 hours a week with a view to making a profit. Continue reading “Claiming just expenses on your tax return”

Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher

Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher

I came across this book, Refuse to Choose, while I was looking at different VA services website and one of them had recommended this book. I am so glad I found this book. It’s a lovely book about how to follow all the things that interest you and you are passionate about. The author calls these people ‘Scanners’ and it makes being indecisive and wanting to do everything acceptable.

Another Notebook!

The things that she suggests you do are not really new concepts but they way she writes about it makes it all feel ok. As with nearly every single book or course I read now, they all start with buying a brand-new journal in which to write in. For this book, your notebook or journal needs to be new and special for you to write, draw and doodle all your fantastic ideas. Something like Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. I dutifully complied.

Even though I did start my new notebook, I haven’t actually kept up to date with it. It’s currently sitting pretty in my bookshelf along with my notebooks on accounting, tax, blogging, writing and the 3 page a day(!) diary.

Chapters

The book is split up into two parts and 19 chapters. The first part describes what is a scanner and the second part describes what kind of scanner are you? These are the chapters in the book:

Part one
1. All about Scanners
2. What’s Wrong with me?
3. Scanner Panic
4. Commitment Phobia
5. Too busy to do What I Love
6. I won’t do anything if I can’t do everything
7. I can’t get started
8. I never finish anything

Part two
9. About Cyclical Scanners
10. Are you a Double Agent?
11. Are you a Sybil?
12. Are you a Plate Spinner?
13. About Sequential Scanners
14. Are you a Serial Specialist?
15. Are you a Serial Master
16. Are you a Jack of all Trades?
17. Are you a Wanderer?
18. Are you a Sampler?
19. Are you a High-Speed Indecisive?

Type Of Scanner

In Part two, at the beginning of each chapter is a list of questions about that particular type of scanner and if you can answer yes to a lot of these questions then that is the type of scanner that you are. You can be more than one type of scanner. When I went through this, I got Jack of all trades and Double Agent. It then gives a few examples of people in that group and what they do and then lists out potential careers of types of careers and finally what type of tools a scanner needs. There is a list of tools for a scanner in the appendix which is useful as most of these things I’ve not really ever heard of. Some of favourites are the portable dream deck where you can keep several different projects going at the same time, the scanners day book, A ring binder for all your different projects and a catalogue of ideas with potential. Actually, I think I would probably like them all.

The Good Enough Job

Another big theme I found in the book is to find a good enough job if you can’t find the perfect job and then you can spend the rest of your time pursuing the things that you enjoy. There are several chapters that I want to go back and read again but it really does make you feel better that its ok not to have a niche figured out and pursuing. You don’t need to be a specialist and focus all your energies on the one thing, if you enjoy doing several things at the same time.

If, like me you are wanting to everything that you find interesting without giving up anything, this book is for you. I can see why the VA feels like this book is a must for all other VA’s out there because you can offer lots of different services that you are good at as a VA.

The author, Barbara Sher, also has a website and mailing list which can be found here: http://barbarasclub.com/

Go and enjoy this book as I try and figure out how to organise my life so I can do everything I want to pursue!

Buy the book from amazon here:

 

Merry Christmas and Download Your Christmas Present

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

With Christmas celebrations in full swing now that the girls are off from school, this holiday is going to be jam-packed with things to do.  New Years Day is also looming up so I thought I would keep this post short and add a little Christmas present that you can download here:

Diary, Planner and Workbook 2018

 

Continue reading “Merry Christmas and Download Your Christmas Present”

The Tax Return Checklist

Every year, when tax return season approaches I send out a standard tax return reminder email along with a standard tax return checklist. This is a habit I picked up from working in practice for over 10 years. I very much doubt it ever gets read based on the emails and phone calls I get about tax returns. Its not very fancy which could be its downfall but in my mind, I’ve covered everything. Continue reading “The Tax Return Checklist”

Advent Calendar Day and New Quarterly Planner

Welcome to the last month of 2017 and the first day of opening your advent calendar.  We have four advent calendars in the house so I think we might all get a chance to open it!  After school obviously… Continue reading “Advent Calendar Day and New Quarterly Planner”

Four years at Aqilla

Since going on maternity leave over 7 years ago, I’ve attempted working in several different jobs trying to fit it in with life as a new mum and working. I’ve been a full-time mum, I’ve attempted to work for myself as an accountant in practice, I’ve attempted to juggle 3 to 4 different accounting contracts at the same time, I’ve even gone off in a tangent and attempted other things like this blog and other writing gigs. However, in the last four years the one thing I have held onto has been working for Aqilla. Continue reading “Four years at Aqilla”