I did my taxes last week, and it was chaotic

I did my self assessment taxes last weekend. This is where I declared all the money I had earned in the 2016-17 tax year through doing self employed contract work at an Arts company, and also all the money I had earned through my market research and ‘money making scams’ as the boy calls them.

Yes, all those Amazon vouchers I had earned through apps and doing surveys, I hate to break it to you but you do have to declare them as earnings. I am ridiculously honest when it comes to my taxes, I even declared the money I had earned as tips when I was a waitress. I have spoken about it before but I will declare everything I earn on my taxes, as people’s taxes paid to look after me (when I was a child in a single parent on benefits home) so I will pay every penny I am due to in order to give back the same to society.

I don’t say any of that to be all ‘holier than thou’, I’m just explaining that this is my particular principle I stick to. As I usually say at this point, do what you like.

Now, normally doing my taxes is one of my favourite days of each year (yes, I am a complete weirdo and really I should have been an accountant) but this year was a little different.

I made a mistake.

In the last tax year I held two different jobs at the company I am working for now. There was a four month gap between the two roles. I wrongfully assumed that the P60 I received earlier this year covered all the earnings I had earned in those two roles, as they were both in the same tax year at the same company.

So I input my earnings on the self assessment online form, and due to earning so little in the last year (due to the four month gap of unemployment) I was due a nice fat rebate of around £490.

Which for me is like winning the lottery.

So I was coasting on a sea of happiness for several hours until I remembered something.

I had been issued a P45 for the first job when the contract there ended.

Which I hadn’t declared.

So I got in a bit of a mental state, embarrassingly in front of my accountant (also known as my father in law), as I was petrified the ‘tax man’ would come after me and get me.

To cut a long story short, I could easily amend the form, and I was still due a rebate, but of £180. Nothing to sniff at, but I’m sure we all would prefer nearly £500 to nearly £200.

And, to complicate things, I was paid the original rebate amount first, so then I had to phone up the tax helpline to pay back the rest of it.

But I am all up to date now, I have paid what I owe to society/the country, and the rebate means that I could pay £100 off my overdraft, and I could give the boy £100 which means I now only owe him £40, which is down from over £1000 earlier this year.

I should point out, the rebate was actually more, but due to not having paid enough national insurance contributions in the past tax year (due to not earning enough) I had the option of voluntarily paying what I owed in National Insurance contributions. Now this is voluntary. I would not, necessarily, get into trouble if I didn’t (what I mean is no one would come after me demanding money if I chose not to pay them).

BUT, in the UK, and don’t ask me to explain it in too much detail because I will fall flat on my bum if I do, you pay national insurance contributions so that you can be eligible to receive things like your state pension or job seekers allowance if and when needed.

And as I am one of those ‘artistic’ people, who typically don’t earn very much money, I chose to pay the national insurance contributions because it could potentially save my skin in the future.

Of course, it’s a gamble, as the world could all go to hell by the time that day comes. But if everything is to stay the same then it was a good decision to have made.

Well, that’s the story of my taxes. Can’t wait till next year when I get to do it all over again.

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