Blog, Development Diary, Productivity Pointers

Taxes Can Take A Hike

There’s nothing worse than doing your own taxes.

Any self-employed person will tell you that crunching your own numbers is simply one of the most galling processes in being a freelancer.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a plasterer, a programmer or a part-time baker (yes, I couldn’t think of any more jobs beginning with ‘p’) if you are your own boss then you need to account for every single expense, cost and incoming for the entire tax year. Of course, sensible business owners keep track of their financials as the days, weeks and months go by. Graphic Designers in their twenties, however, are not all that sensible.

The months leading up to April are always busy ones for me. Thanks to a tonne of advertising, I’ve managed to rake in a few one-off jobs, as well as some more regular work, so I’ve got plenty to keep myself busy with. Socially though, I find myself drifting into a slightly disconcerting dead zone, leaving me with very little to do to distract myself from my taxes. My fellow designers and freelancers are a curious bunch. Mostly living in the neighbouring towns of my village, they’re not far away, but during the winter months they can be hard to rouse from their cave-like homes.

With the dreaded threat of unfinished tax returns looming over all our heads, you’d think that this would be a perfect time for us all to start seeing a lot more of each other – but you would be wrong.

The modern self-employed person has an endless amount of distractions to draw them away from their purpose. Perhaps there’s a new Netflix series that simply everyone is talking about – there goes 13 hours of your life. Maybe you’ve just remembered that there was that book you were given by your Aunt for Christmas that’s still sitting on the dining room table, you could struggle through that for another 30 hours. Then, of course, there’s always video games. Lovely video games. Time sucking video games that steal your evenings, weekends and your sleep. Whatever you choose to do, when attempting to erase the thought of doing any kind of Tax-based work, you must ensure that you never leave the house.

The house, to the self-employed person is both the work-house and the holiday lodge. As long as you’re inside the house, there’s always the possibility of you doing some kind of work. You may just stay in reading comics, but there’s still a chance of some work getting done. As soon as you step outside the front door that possibility dive bombs to an absolute zero. The game of Procrastination is a delicate one, it involves walking a fine mental tight rope that could snap at any moment, leaving you hanging by one hand staring down at the bottomless pit of despair that you have been pretending does exist for the past 10 weeks.

Come April things will be different though. Our tax returns will be handed in, we’ll know where we stand financially and the sun will have returned to England, banishing the grey rain clouds of Winter.

Then, and only then, will we freelancers think of leaving the house and rejoining society once more.