Tax - Self assessment on line - anyone for a group hug?

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Annie the Pedlar
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Tax - Self assessment on line - anyone for a group hug?

Postby Annie the Pedlar » Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:30 pm

It's that time of the year -

On Sunday I got vibes off Ali (Herts Fabrics) of "Don't talk to me! I'm ensconced in my office/cellar/garage? trying to figure out my tax return." Actually the vibes came off Ali's 'missus'. Ali stayed very polite. It was him who'd rung me in the first place..... :roll:

Somewhere I picked up a message from Lucy the Tudor along the lines of "Yes I'll make it for you - but not now! I'm tearing my hair out trying to do my tax return online."

Yesterday my husband got screeched at - "Stupid computer won't connect to my pages!" and when they eventually did "Why are they asking me these stupid questions! Why don't they just ask 'how much came in and how much went out?' I can cope with that" :cry: "How am I supposed to remember what class stamps I chose to pay? It was ages ago and it all just comes out of our bank account and they don't send paper statements anymore and how long should I cook the salmon in the microwave? W..(my supermarket before I moved) used to tell you on the packet. What's the matter with M..(my current supermarket). They're usless! Oh look it says I haven't filled in this box but look I have. Oh if you want to eat tonight you'll have to cook it ! I'm missing Jericho on the tele!" at which point the tears of frustration prickle in my eyes........

Is anyone else in this bad place?

Looking on the bright side - the overwhelming sense of relief when it's all done and dusted passeth all understanding :D



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Postby busy mole » Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:32 pm

Tax returns on line last year .....
What can I say we are doing it on paper this year.
Did not find it clear or reliable.


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Postby Shadowcat » Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:34 pm

Hello ((((HUG)))) any minute now I'll be needing it - I wasn't very good at keeping my accounts last year, and have to try and remember (who said invent?) everything I did!!

S.



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Postby Kate Tiler » Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:07 pm

I'm usually to be found 2am on the morning/night of the 31st of Jan, eyes propped open with matches, at the screen...one year I finally pressed 'send' at 6am of the 1st of February :)

This year (06/7) included my big move, so I had two different addresses to claim from, plus storage locker and a lot of different places to hide reciepts!

I gave in & in October I went & found a very nice accountant & his long-suffering secretary - cost me £350. I gave them folders in December & a final box file of random things in no order at all a few weeks ago.

Now all I've got to do is find the money for the tax man!


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Postby lucy the tudor » Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:49 pm

You lot are very brave, I looked at the online one, and chickened out.
I had only traded for five months by the end of last tax year.( officially )
So our turnover didn't put us into the range of anything other than, this much in, this much out, and carry forward the debt.
It was much easier to do that on paper.
More of a hassle has been preparing all the next lot of accounts up to current date and trying to work out projected earnings to claim Working Families Tax credit as a single mum! I have managed that in two days flat so it shows what you can do when you are scared about having enough money to feed the kids when he closes the joint account at the beginning of next month and/ or has his wages paid into his new single life account. Ho hum, here I am a statistic...
I do feel a bit proud that where we initially thought we were up to with the business is exactly where we are, and had he still been here we would have been able to start paying off more business debt more quickly.
I am starting to get more school bookings in (three booked today, unprecedented, yippeee) so it looks like life will be o.k. even working this one on my own.
This really was not my choice, as those of you who have followed my moaning on "all the bad things in life thread" are probably bored stiff with hearing this last week. But I have to say it is not looking too grim in the daylight, now I know the kids and I are less likely to lose our home and business as well as husband and father. All this in less than a week since he admitted he was leaving me for the other woman, bit of a shock.

Any way up, hugs to all those jugglers of receipts, why don't you get next years going whilst you are in the mood?
Maybe not
:oops:
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Postby Shadowcat » Thu Jan 24, 2008 6:43 pm

lucy the tudor wrote:Any way up, hugs to all those jugglers of receipts, why don't you get next years going whilst you are in the mood?
Maybe not
:oops:
Lucy


I already keep running accounts of the current year, but it doesn't stop me forgetting where I put the electricity bills, or the receipt for the new sewing machine, which can be claimed....or..........or

I get there eventually, but it wipes me out for three days after!

S.



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Postby Fillionous » Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:52 pm

I'll admit to not really understanding the first thing about all this...
This is my first year trading... I guess I should be doing something ... I guess the tax bods are going to want to know... but the reality is I have records and my bank statments of what went in and what went out and I know I have jsut about broken even... (which is not bad for first year... esspecally one with such terrible weather as last year.. and with me juggling my bussiness with a 1-2 year old and thus only doing one show!)
And I have no idea even where to start as far as telling the tax bod what he might want to know...

:cry:

Good luck to you folks...

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Postby lucy the tudor » Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:18 pm

Fillonius, they have tax training days for free at your local tax office, if you can get someone to take the little one for you for a day.
Actually as thrilling as it sounds for a whole day to talk about form filling, they give you lots of tea and biscuits, and the other people there were good fun.
It's not essential for those of you with a mind for such things, but I used to work for the Benefits agency, and knew that every form has it's own odd little ways and the people who are going to read them are the best ones to help you fill them in. Meanwhile my sieve like brain had forgotten most of it when it came time to do it for real. I had to keep going to my notes and making hotter and stronger tea.
Still ended up doing the paper one :roll:
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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:22 am

Whisper -
Dearest Filanous,
you were supposed to register with the Tax people within 3 months of starting your business regardless of whether you make a profit or not. You will be threatened with a hefty fine but calm down. Your local tax people (the ones Lucy talked about, and the ones I went to) are very very nice and mine said they don't snitch to the big tax people (who according to some can be very very nasty - or more heartless due to sticking to the rules). Your local people are more used to weird people starting up their own weird businesses and only want to encourage you and keep you on the right side of the law. They give you loads of help and tea and biscuits.

With the fine for not registering within the first 3 months of trading - I came in as they had just started that off and they were all sweetness and light and their aim was to get us registered not to frighten us off. I don't know what their attitude is now.

I can't for the life of me remember how I found out where my local office was - it wasn't that local - it could have been the library, Citizen's Advice might help but they were really stroppy with me as you have to go to the one in your district and I had rung the wrong one. You could Google, or there might be something on the income tax site http://www.hmrc.gov.uk or look in your local phone book. There are helplines all over the place. If you phone one at random they should be able to direct you to the right people.

The filling in the tax form bit gets done a year in arrears so we are filling it in to cover our trading from March 2006 to March 2007. So I imagine you can relax about that for the moment.



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Postby Type16 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:50 am

Lucy..........
Observation............ A joint bank account usually requires 2 signatures to close it. Also, if only 1 signature is required on a cheque ........ that person can shift the funds to their new account to avoid 'difficulties' ...... :twisted: get my drift ??

General comment
=
For myself, being awful with numbers ( a form of dyslexia ) I have to pass my tax stuff to my accountant. it costs, but to an extent I can pass the buck to him - an ex-tax man.


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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:00 pm

Also Filanous, you should be paying National Insurance Stamps.
One reason is it's good for your soul as you are supporting the National Health Service, think of all those little babies in incubators' s lives you are saving, but more to the point you'll regret it later if you don't.

Take me for example, I worked part time then full time and I paid reduced rate stamps (they didn't take women working very seriously when I left school) then when I got pregnant was told I could take the money back, so I did and bought a buggy and a cot with it. Then I childminded but never earned enough to pay tax and you didn't have to tell anyone official (tax wise) (Social Services knew and looked after me) about your earnings because they were peanuts. So for most of my life I have not no National Insurance record. The children grew up. I eventually got a full time job. I did pay stamps. But only for 9 years when life as we knew it fell to pieces and I was back to part time work and eventually self employment.
So my pension, which I can draw next year, will amount to £1.20 a week (last time I looked). It's farcical and frightening.

Annie, regretting she had been so innocent of the ways of the world when young and raging at those moving the goal posts now I'm old.

PS :twisted: another reason for you to pay your National Insurance stamps - and Tax - is if I am only going to get £1.20 a week to live on I'm going to claim every pensioner credit going and free glasses and bus passes and heating allowances and somebody's got to pay for me ha ha ha ha ha ha :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:



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Postby sally » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:12 pm

I've always done my return at the start of April, cos thats when my accounts for the year finish- is that wrong? They've never shouted at me so far :? Mind, they never ask for a return either, apparently my turnover is so small they don't really want to see it, but, I just send one in anyway to be on the safe side. Feeling all worried if everyone else does theres in january :?



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Postby Phil the Grips » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:27 pm

I nearly went self employed (at least part time) a while back and there's probably evidence of it in the ether from then (membership of local enterprise groups etc) so I am getting loads of spam/phishing emails pretending to be online tax return enquires from the Taxman.

Anyone else getting these?


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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:37 pm

Are we talking about differnt things here Sally?
You can make your own personal accounting year between any month/dates you like.
The tax return has to be for the year between 6th March to 5th March the following year,
If you send in a tax return any month before September (I think it's the 30th) they will calculaute the tax you owe for you,
If you send it in after 30th September but before 31st January you have to work out for your self.
You can do it on a paper form (or more like a book!!!!!) or you can do it on the computer.
The nice thing about the computer is it works out how much you owe (or don't) and you can pay the income tax you owe online by credit card - and get into debt. Whoa ho! :roll:
If you get past 31st January you get fined (unless you are called Kate Tiler) and still have to fill in a return.

The 'nasty' bit I mentioned is (I have been told by somone it happened to) that the tax men can descendeth upon you at any time without notice and raid your house. Obviously (I hope) they don't do this for fun, but only if they think you are up to no good and hiding things.



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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:50 pm

Oooh Phil, that's nasty. And no, plenty of viagra and Nigerian bankers but no tax men.

Filanous - incase I gave you the heebee jeebies I have no intention on relying on the state when I'm a crumbly. Never have and never will (I hope).
When I married my man it was for all his worldly possessions including (half) his pension. (Well he married me for my car and I married him'cos he could fix it when it went wrong.)
As a back up I made 3 chldren. Now I know they are all artists or musicians so my plan is not looking good but I was banking on one of them becoming rich and keepng me in a style I have yet to become accustomed to.
My next plan is to be very nice to my daughters in law and to try and make myself indispensible to them. The flaw in that plan is none of them have actually married my sons yet but you've got to live in hope.
And I'm sewing under showers of plaster in the hope that this property ladder malarchy will work. Visions of me being a rackateering landlord at the age of 101. :lol:
And I know how to be a bag lady and a basket case :lol:

Oh shut up Annie and get back to your sewing!



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Postby Fillionous » Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:57 pm

Just to allay some of your thoughts (and thanks for them!) I have registered with the tax bods - offically self emplyed / sole trader type thingy. And it was within (just) thier 3 month deadline thing.

I just have heard nothing back... So (prehaps foolishly) presumed that they weren't interested - afterall I am (currently) earning / turning over well under all thier lowest limits... as far as I can work out... I hope that may change (well the bit about earning, not the bit about them hounding me to my death with forms and bills...)

Looking at some of the information you have posted, this might be because I have not yet done a compleat year, either tax, school, calender, from registration of any kind... So this is probably all going to come home to roost somewhen later this year or this time next year.

As for stamps... I currently cannot afford to even pay into the lowest level of volentery contributions. (I think that is the one that is about £12 a week). I have some bits stowed away (which the taxman knows about and already takes his big teeth to) and guess that a combination of my 'rich' (HA HA HA) husband and his pensions and certian inheratances which will come my way (again, after the taxman has chewed on them) being enough to be ok on. I do not expect to get more than a few pence in state pension, but have made provision so that I don't suffer in my dotage. (Invested in child too! :twisted: )

Just thoughts,
Be bright, be bold
Fillionous

PS shorten my name to Fill - rather than miss spell it please! :lol:


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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:05 pm

Oh dear :oops: that was unforgivable. I do apologise, Fill.



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Postby sally » Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:29 pm

Annie the Pedlar wrote:Are we talking about differnt things here Sally?
You can make your own personal accounting year between any month/dates you like.
The tax return has to be for the year between 6th March to 5th March the following year,
If you send in a tax return any month before September (I think it's the 30th) they will calculaute the tax you owe for you,
If you send it in after 30th September but before 31st January you have to work out for your self.
You can do it on a paper form (or more like a book!!!!!) or you can do it on the computer.
The nice thing about the computer is it works out how much you owe (or don't) and you can pay the income tax you owe online by credit card - and get into debt. Whoa ho! :roll:
If you get past 31st January you get fined (unless you are called Kate Tiler) and still have to fill in a return.

The 'nasty' bit I mentioned is (I have been told by somone it happened to) that the tax men can descendeth upon you at any time without notice and raid your house. Obviously (I hope) they don't do this for fun, but only if they think you are up to no good and hiding things.


I'm probably ok then, I did my tax return online using the self assessment form for 2006/7 around the middle of April 07, I'll do the same for 2007/8 around the middle of April this year. So thats ok isnt it. there isnt anything else I'm supposed to be doing now at the end of January?



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Postby lucy the tudor » Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:03 pm

Yes Sally, you are just so much more organised than the rest of us.
We were all still doing the returns to April 2007 before getting a fine for a late return which happens if it isn't in by end of Jan. following year.
I am sure we all had every intention of doing it your way, when we first got all the information about taxes. I for one thought it incredible that anyone could trade and set prices for their stuff without really knowing how much the business was costing them month to month. And then, well, errmm, you know I kept getting busy and all that.... :oops:
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Postby sally » Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:32 pm

I'm not really organized, just paranoid, anyway, I know I do it wrong cos I hardly offset anything and I know I probably could, I've just never been able to work out how many boxes under the bed or table equal a room being used for business, so I don't currently include any of my household bills, and I know I should I just can't work out how to. Fortunatley, so far the tax man has owed me money most years, but I really need to get beyond just telling him how much I spent on business (stock, petrol, stall fees) compared to how much I made :?



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Postby Neibelungen » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:03 pm

If your earning under a certain amount you can apply to the tax office to have your NI payments adjusted for low income. Under £4635 earning for the last year.

Think it's termed Class 2 small earnings exceptions.

You can also apply for Working Tax Credits as well on a low income, though they will take your partners income into consideration with it.



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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Sat Jan 26, 2008 2:23 pm

Yes I figured out what Sally was doing yesterday - she's being the good girl at the front of the class, the teacher's pet, a goody two shoes. Kate, Lucy and I are the naughty girls at the back of the class who giggle away all year then go into panic revise mode the night before the exam.
So Fillionous (looks back through posts to double check I've spelt it right) are you gong to sit with Sally or with Kate, Lucy and I when your tax letter drops through your letter box in April?

To add to what Neibelungen said - if you earned less than £4,635 in 2007 the NI contribution was £2.20 a week, now in 2008 it's if you earn less than £4,825 a year they are £2.30 a week......unless you are a fisherman.

The next rung on the ladder is if your profit is £5,225 or over your contributions were £7.80 a week for 2007 and for 2008 it's £5,435 and over has contributions of £8.10 .

Then it changes when you make £34,840 (2007) or £40,000 (2008) in profit which I don't think is us, is it?



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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:13 pm

Sally said
I don't currently include any of my household bills, and I know I should I just can't work out how to.


Here's an idea:
if you are uberorganised make a note of you gas and electric bills as they come in. If not, throw them in a box or filing cabinet and forget them for a year (but don't forget WHERE they are).
Have a separate account book or a separate page at the back of your account book.
At a convenient (or panicking) time of the year eg. just before you fill in your tax form pull out the bills.
Look at you 'stuff'. Would it theoretically fit in one room? Say it will. Think am I using one room's worth of my house for business purposes? Count the rooms in your house but not the kitchen, bathroom and toilet. So say you have 3 bedrooms, a living room and a dining room, the number you should be thinkng of is 5.
You are going to divide your bills by 5.
That is how much you can put down as a tax allowance for heat and light.
Going back to your separate book or page. I write down in columns 1. the amount on the gas bill that came through my letter box. 2. what a fifth of that is. I show my maths, then if the tax man decendeth he can see my working outs and check back to the original bill if he so desireth.
I record it on a separate page because it doesn't fit in with my daily in and out goings which I am pretty good at entering as they happen.
The house hold bill thing was doing my head in but this system seems to be working - for me.....
When you've got the hang of that try thinking about your phone landline/ADSL line bill. How much do you use your phone and computer?
The maths should go - how many people are sharing it? Out of your share how much is personal? Divide your phone bill by both numbers.
The answer is how much is tax allowable.
Eg My number is easy - I'm an empty nester. There is only me and my husband at home - so I divide the bill by 2. All my friends are potential customers so I only use the computer for business (which is 99.99% true)so my answer is still 2. To salve my conscience I don't count my mobile phone bills because I although I use it for the odd business call it's predominately used for family stuff.
So I half my BT bill.



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Postby sally » Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:56 pm

Annie the Pedlar wrote:Sally said
I don't currently include any of my household bills, and I know I should I just can't work out how to.


Here's an idea:

Thank you Annie, that does indeed make perfect sense and I can now see how to at least start to claim some of my stuff against the tax bill. :D



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Postby Shadowcat » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:33 pm

I do the same as Annie, although I divide slightly differently as I have a bigger house.

You can claim for clothing worn solely in persuance of your trade too. For example, as Annie the Pedlar, Annie can claim for those clothes wears in schools, lI believe, less a percentage if she wears them for pleasure (like Kentwell.)

As a costume maker and lecturer, I cannot claim on everyday smart clothes, but could if I went in character, and can claim for fashion plates, and clothing I make for demonstration purposes. Do check this with your friendly local tax office though, in case things have changed since I were a lass! I claim for museum visits, memberships of relevant societies (Costume Society, Friends of Fashion, The Art Fund) etc.

HTH.

S.



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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:14 pm

Now this is just me saying this ...but the bit I think you want to steer clear of is claiming for a proportion of the cost of having a house/place to work in the first place.
If you are buying your house and put down a proportion of the mortgage payments as an expense, when you sell your house the taxman will claim a proportion of the profit. That could be a really lot of money seeing how house prices have risen.
I did wonder if you could rent yourself a room in your house but was told the taxman views this as a scam.
But if you rent a workshop from someonelse (husbands are viewed as dodgey) you are allowed to put the rent down as an expense with no repercussion I can spot. But this is this is expensive and the opposite of the point of working from home which is to save money.

I see a graphic novel coming on. Dark menacing figure, pitched at an angle, looming out of the mists, with the scary title of THE TAXMAN .......



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Postby Shadowcat » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:28 pm

We actually have paid off the mortgage, so we are fine, as far as that is concerned.

S.



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Postby fishwife » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:22 pm

I can confirm that the local tax office are very helpful!

For the last 5 years I have trundled in with my paper form to an appointment with a lovely taxman, he's sat with me whilst I fill it in and then obligingly taken it away - then a few weeks later I get a letter giving me my tax details for the year - all very simple and straightforward. I go and see him somewhere between the middle of september and November, he works everything out for me and I don't have to get in a tiz at all!!!

Now the bad news - they've changed all the systems! My nice taxman is retiring in May (boohoo!) and the phone system is now centralised so I can't phone him and talk things through - I get Mr Generic who doesn't know the first thing about tax or business, but can only deal with what's on his script!

Must admit though I don't understand why everyone leaves it til now - (unless they have an accountant!) I just have my panic in September instead!


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Postby Shadowcat » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:56 pm

fishwife wrote:Must admit though I don't understand why everyone leaves it til now - (unless they have an accountant!) I just have my panic in September instead!


So I have the money to pay the tax, if any - earlier in the year, there are holidays, Christmas, etc to pay for. Now I have enough money, I hope, to pay.

S.



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Annie the Pedlar
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Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 9:05 am
Location: In a close of bluebells in the hamlet of Hors
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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:03 pm

On the subject of getting organised - Jack the Dodgy Builder told me this and verily I have found it brilliant.
You throw your receipts into a container.
Every week (ho ho as if that ever happens!), every month, or whenever, you go through them and enter then into your account book or computer accounts program
then ...this is the good bit... you put then in envelopes. You have one envelope for each month. You write the month and year on the envelope

and shove all the envelopes in another container and either forget about them, or, if you need to, retrieve whatever you are seaching for really easily.




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