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As thesaying goes, the only certainties in life are death and taxes; so how can payingtaxes be stress free?

You can, just leave it to your accountant

The foolproof approach to preparing Your Tax Return

The 31st January deadline is fast approaching and you’ve decided that you can’t put off doing your Tax Return any longer. Make a start by emptying your house of all loved ones. This is because your children are not yet old enough to see the behaviour you may exhibit in the hours ahead and your wife/husband will only remind you that you’ve already had over nine months to do it. Send them to the park, to the shops, or to the movies. Be sure you will have several hours alone to tackle this project.

Next, recall that famous line from Dirty Harry, “a man’s got to know his limitations”. Stop for a moment to access your current state before beginning your taxes. Did you relax and pet the dog (or cat) for a few minutes after work to calm down from your commute home in heavy traffic?  Have you eaten recently? Did you go for a walk or stretch after eating to be in a reasonable sound physical state?

Okay, now you are ready to set up your chosen tax command post. From this location you will want plenty of flat surface area. The kitchen table? And all nearby counter tops. And the seats of all the chairs. And all the available floor space and window sills. Be sure you are fully supplied with pens, pencils, erasers, paper clips, sticky tape, tippex and a large wastepaper basket. (Maybe a shredder when you are absolutely, positively, 100 percent certain, you will never-need-that-piece-of-paper-again).

Also don’t forget your 21st century techy stuff, your trusty PC, with all the registered trademark software to help with your taxes – Word, Excel, Quick Books, Sage, Turbo Tax, etc. (Which you confirmed was loaded and working properly over the August Bank Holiday 3 or 4 months earlier ).

Oh, and did you prepare the necessary stimulants, your favourite brew of espresso strength coffee, a suitable pile of snacks? And perhaps a couple of miniatures of your favourite tipple (for medicinal reasons only, in case you get stressed!)? It will likely be a long night and you may need all the help you can get! A couple of your favourite chocolate bars nearby might be a nice touch. Oh, and a box of tissues (I’ll explain later).

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for

Spread out all your tax receipts in neat and orderly piles. Select a pattern to group them logically. Carefully sort them, paying close attention to which ones go on which piles. Take special care not to spill your coffee on them.  After all, “I spilled my coffee all over them” is right up there with “the dog ate my homework” if you know what I mean.

Now open your Tax Return or tax software. Stare blankly at it for several minutes. Bang your head on the table a couple of times. Scream out in frustration. Have a little weep, it often helps. Have another cup of coffee. It’s also time for your second chocolate bar and perhaps one of those miniatures; gather your thoughts.

Finally, you come to a decision, so savour the moment. Gather up all the forms, all the files, and all the receipts. Place them all in a large box. Welcome your family home and enjoy a moment with them before bedtime.

How it feels when you leave it to your accountant
Image of David Jones Shrewsbury Accountant and Founder of Morgan Jones
If you would like more detailed information on some aspect of UK Tax, send me an e-mail and I'll be pleased to advise further.

And tomorrow, take the big box and your credit card to a trusted tax professional, they just love this stuff!