Another New Year rolls around. Another 12 months where we will all make a list of wildly unattainable resolutions that we will promise, hand on heart, to stand by. Of course we will only stand by them until the pressure of keeping them up kicks in and we slip back into old habits. This usually occurs between 2nd– 5th of January.
So this year, with our tongue firmly in our cheek, we thought we would give some tax tips for freelancers – attainable and honest New Year’s resolutions with bad excuses already attached.
This year I promise to…
- Not fall for the latest gadget or upgrade my equipment unless I genuinely need the gadget or upgrade… or I really like it… or it has a really, really nice flashing light on it… or it’s relatively cheap.
- Keep focused at work. I will be a high powered laser of concentration burning through my inbox…unless I need some down time…or I meet that mate of mine I used to work with…or I see some squirrels out of the window.
- Eat properly and exercise. This is the year I get myself in shape. I will visit the gym and eat three healthy meals a day… unless I am really busy… or I deserve a treat for going to the gym… going to the gym burns up a lot of calories so I will need a mars bar or two to stay focused at work… Unless I haven’t been to the gym because I was too busy, in which case the snacks are lunch anyway.
- Keep up with the industry and really do my research…and research does not mean sitting with my feet on my desk in the middle of the day, eating ice-cream while watching on-demand television…unless it is actually research because it’s about something I am going to be working on or in…or potentially on or in…or I know someone who was on the show… or it’s a particularly good episode of Game of Thrones or something.
- Keep my tax records up to date…unless I am in a bit of a rush, in which case I will promise to do it later…unless I forget what the record was supposed to be about in which case I will file it for later review…unless really, really can’t remember what that receipt was for, in which case I will put it in a shoebox with it’s 50 brothers and empty it onto the desk of my advisor at Blue Skies then run away.
- My final resolution is I will not intentionally follow any of the above New Year resolutions…particularly the last one, which is really financially dangerous and upsets my lovely friends at Blue Skies. Really, don’t do it!
Have a wonderful New Year everyone!
I work from home a lot. To be honest I quite enjoy taunting my friends with it. Most of them work in a 9 – 5 office environment or similar and I like to tell them that I roll out of bed, throw down a coffee and then get on with my day without even dressing sometimes. Obviously this is not true, ok it’s partially true but I can promise you I am not writing this in my Spiderman onesie.
Working from home does have a number of advantages and many of these go beyond the option to sit around in your PJ’s, however there are also a lot of pitfalls and difficulties associated with teleworking. Some of the downsides include:
- Where do you meet people?
There are still a lot of clients who will put store in the office as indicator of success. Your local coffee shop is not always as conducive to meeting clients as the meeting room in the business centre where you are located.
- The office is where you ‘work’.
For some people there is a psychological element to going to work. It means you are ‘working’ whereas being at home doesn’t have the same professional atmosphere. You may even encounter some prejudice in that people will believe you are not actually working productively at home. In the case of some home workers this can be true, not because they are lazy but because they need the ‘working’ state of mind of being at work.
- Daddy can I…Mummy can I…
Home is also where everyone else is at home, and that means it is full of distractions. Five minutes chatting to your partner, the kids, the postman, the man next door and the girl looking for a charitable donation can quickly turn into an unproductive couple of hours each day.
- The Kitchen Chat
Being at home is isolating and can be quite lonely. Creative people tend to thrive on everyday input and don’t forget the work related information and opportunities you will probably miss out on.
On the other hand there are a lot of positives. For example:
- Flexible and free
You have no phone to man and no office to attend to so if you want to zoom off to Lizard point or John O’Groats for a meeting you can do. The office isn’t somewhere you can just leave as needed. It needs attention and it needs maintaining. Working from home you are free to come and go as you please.
- As much as the home worker is prone to distraction they are also freed from the office gossip and the time thieves. If you are fine working on your own then being a home worker is perfect for long, uninterrupted periods of concentration.
- Money in the bank
Working from home is obviously cheaper for the individual. If, as is often the case in the media world, you are a freelancer and/or self-employed sole trader then why spend the money on offices? There are also potential tax advantages to working from home.
- Work life balance
Yes the kids and all the various paraphernalia of domesticity will conspire to interrupt you but, if managed effectively, just in the commute alone you could save a couple of hours of family time.
The other thing we haven’t even touched on here is the half and half option of shared and virtual offices.
There are good and bad points on both sides of the working from home debate. Probably equal top of the list for most of us is the question of finance and work life balance. The latter you will need to decide for yourself but the question of the financial benefits we can help you with. Whichever way you work it is a good idea to find out if that onesie is a legitimate expense, so call us to discuss your situation and we will be happy to help.