Have you got a tax hangover?

HMRC website

If you were one of the many people who left everything to the 31st January tax return deadline, you might now be recovering from what I call the tax hangover.

It’s caused by a mixture of adrenaline, that feeling of wooziness because you’re not quite sure if you did everything right, coupled with relief that it’s over, followed hotly by the unpleasant realisation that you have to do it all again next January.

But it doesn’t have to be like that!

I’ve written before about the importance of doing your tax stuff as you go along through the tax year. So that means starting very soon, given that the new tax year starts on 6 April.

Of course the information you collect from 6th April 2019 will not be needed by HMRC until 31st January 2021! But you don’t have to wait that long. You can do your tax return as soon as the tax year ends on April 5th 2020.

If you fancy getting more organised, here are a couple of tricks we’ve talked about on our Finance for Freelancers courses.

David running a finance workshop
(photo: Kate Willoughby)
  • Work backwards from what you know you’re going to need at the END of the process. Set up folders or spreadsheets which only collect what you’re going to need and no more.
  • Use the ‘one touch’ method of filing. Only touch a piece of paper once, to deal with it or put it in its place. The same approach works for emails.
  • Put aside 15 minutes every week at the same time to do record keeping. Carve that time out in your diary. It will save you ages later on. Pick a time when you’re not stressed and can actually enjoy the feeling of achievement.
  • If you want to use spreadsheets but don’t know how to set them up, check out our ready-made templates.
  • Come on one of our courses!

Let me know if you have any other organisational techniques or tricks which other freelancers might be able to use.

Posted on 12 February 2019

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