30 January 2020 – Tax Return

Today was a hopelessly mundane tradition: I completed my tax return. For anyone who is self-employed and slightly disorganised, the end of January is usually a painful time full of receipts, (mis)calculations, and spending a long time on hold with HMRC with what should be the most simple question in the world but no amount of Googling will answer it. Even with an accountant, the process can be fraught.

My accountant is lovely. I rang him once late on a Saturday night expecting to leave a message but instead spent a good half hour having a very entertaining conversation with him about marlin fishing (of which I know nothing). Anyhow, it doesn’t seem to matter if I send him my receipts all tied up in a bow in May, or in a mass of hastily scribbled envelopes in November, the end result is always the same: ever-so-polite-last-minute-panic. Every year I end up in the final throes of January sending little passive-aggressive emails asking if he’s sent me something to sign as I haven’t received anything, and I just wanted to check that my email address is still working, and I hope that everything is going well (admittedly, one year my email didn’t work, but that’s only been the once). And every year, by the skin of our teeth, the paperwork is sent, checked, printed, signed, scanned and resent, and my tax return is filed. To be fair, he did send me everything yesterday, so I did have a slightly longer turnaround than usual, I just couldn’t get to it until this morning. 

So not a very exciting bit of folklore today, but a tradition and a ritual that many people will be familiar with. And for anyone who is still battling with tomorrow’s deadline, you have my deepest sympathies. May the Force be with you.

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