It happens every year and it starts around May/June time and every year it puts a dent in my mood.
It begins with an email from my accountants requesting my year-end financial records: my income, outgoings, invoices, receipts, bank statements and anything else that exposes my lack of organisational skills…
This is an Email that I register and then quickly delete. In my subconscious, I might place this request on a figurative To-Do list but I certainly don’t do anything about it. Not yet at least. I don’t start gathering any information together because it is summer – and the financial year (April) has only just ended. So, chill out people.
But the emails keep on coming, of course. My accountants are not the forgetful types. No doubt, being organised professionals (hopefully), they will have a spread sheet of clients and they use some software to fire out emails reminding clients that the government expects its dues – it’s pound of flesh.
I take some considerable prodding for this information – five emails at least – because I know that its retrieval will be painful.
I am not an organised person. I don’t have things to hand. My computer files are haphazard and this year, matters are compounded by my computer crash and complete data loss which regular readers will be familiar with.
Being tax compliant is a task that bears down on me every year. I always allocate a single day to get it all done and every year as I encounter the usual voids in my record keeping, I resolve to become better organised in future so that this annual pain finally abates. But it never does. Every year it is the same – bloody awful. My office becomes a no-go zone; with every available flat surface occupied by scraps of paper and precarious piles of receipts.
And then slowly, I fill in the gaps and finally I have enough information to keep my accountants quiet. Enough information for them to chew on and then the waiting begins for them to crunch the numbers and call me in for the verdict.
Nothing against my accountants personally – they are perfectly nice people, but I never relish seeing them, not really. Every December, they invite me to their office, I suppose to give me a Christmas present of sorts – my annual accounts – the record of how well or how badly I have fared over the previous year. And crucially, they provide me with a number also. A number which really defines my year much more than any laugh count – the number of pounds that I must hand over to Her Majesty’s government as a proportion of all my hard work in the previous year.
A pivotal number then and one I have mixed feelings about.
A low number is good news (more money for me) but is also bad news because it indicates I am less funny than I have been no and maybe its time for a career change. A high number is bad news because I might not have enough money set aside but good news because it means I am as funny as ever.
It is said that death and taxes are two things in life that cannot be avoided – something which a coterie of tech billionaires are managing to confound, investing equal sums in tax avoidances and life longevity schemes.
But no matter how much Mr Musk, Bezoz or Gates chuck at life extending gimmicks – ALL of us will eventually all meet our maker.
We all die.
But not all of us will pay tax and this might well include me this year and why I am looking forward to seeing my accountants this December. To hear a potential upside of Covid 19 and its lockdown – that I owe my government very few pounds indeed and possibly even nothing.
Which brings me neatly to another annual tax event and one which, I have enjoyed for the last four years at least. A demand that I re-register my car and pony up the necessary tax in order to use our roads. A fee which is scaled depending on the size of ones’ car. This annual fee is typically circa £250 – but can go as high as £2070/annum for the thirstier rides – but because I drive a plug-in hybrid, I am levied at zero tax.
And so, for the first time in my career I might be a non-contributor to the exchequer and again I feel ambivalent about this. Because as a self-employed person (business owner, no less) I like to feel that I am a contributor and fully paid up member of the United Kingdom.
That said, any feelings of exclusion I feel are short lived. Because having made the movies, Uncharted and Spider-Man No Way Home in this same period, another member of Team Holland will be coughing up large for his country and enough for all the Holland’s combined, thank you very much – and you’re welcome.
If you enjoy my blog – then there’s a possibility you will enjoy my books – the 8th of which (Made in England) will be published next year. Do sign up to my newsletter for information on this publishing event of international importance.