Jump to content

Self Employment, Mental Health and Tax

Recommended Posts

Hi there,


I was going to write a long diatribe about this but I thought maybe I should keep it simple to start off with. Basically I need help all three of these issues in varying orders of priority and I was wanting to open up this discussion.


In short I'm self employed but I haven't sorted out my tax. I know that tax number 1 thing I really need to do as several people have been saying that I have GOT to sort it out.


I'm on the case with mental health, having tried counselling and CBT for overcoming anxiety over the phone, to limited success, and now I've joined a group therapy CBT course for general anxiety. I'm trying to figure out whether I have aspergers or not with confusing answers.


And then there's self employment which I can just about scrape by with but I find the paperwork very challenging, even sending out invoices can be really difficult. Which brings me round again to this great big beast called tax which I gather from what I'm told requires a lot of paperwork. And big fines and heady legal stuff that sounds messy to say the least...


So I would be really appreciative of some advice here.


Cool! I managed to cut that down from a massive wibble to a few coherent statements :-)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi.Sorry I know nothing about tax as hubby is expert in that department. :)


However regarding CBT and anxiety.If the group is a general group provided through mental health services or a charity it may well be helpful whether you have AS or not.

CBT is recommended as talking therapy for people with AS rather than other types of talking therapy.However people within the group and perhaps even professionals running the group may not have a lot of knowledge of AS if it is a general group.

So if you are thinking about finding out more about AS or seaking an assessment for a diagnosis it might help to think about other options too.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

You could get an accountant to sort out your tax stuff. Obviously you would pay them, but if you can afford it, it may be worthwhile to avoid the stress.


CBT can be very helpful for people with ASD, who often find it hard to verbalise their emotions. It involves looking at the negative assumptions you jump to and how they affect your mood. Group therapy is going to mean it can't be tailored to your particular needs, but you might find that you can still get a lot out of it anyway.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

As for tax, first are you newly self employed. Have you been to see the tax man.


I assume you understand the basics about business outgoings and income.

The more complicated bit is working out allowable expenses, and if you work from home what if anything you can claim for that.


Some types of self employed work have special arrangement with the tax man to simplify things.


So phone up the tax man, make an appointment to go and see your tax man, we all have our own, and see what he says. Despite what you may have heard from others the tax office is very helpful place. If your tax affairs are more complicated you may find it necessary to employ an accountant, but if your turnover is small it may be to expensive.


Tax account do not need to be complicated, all you need to do is keep a record of income and out goings.

keep all recites and invoices. I just use to do my accounts on plain paper, one page for income one for out goings and a total at the bottom of each page.

The tax return is very simply to fill in. If you are honest with the tax people you have nothing to fear from them at all.

And don't forget NI contributions, very important, for self employed with small profit it is £2.40 a week.

If you profit is less than your personal allowance, then there will be not tax to pay. I believe the basic allowance for 2010 is £6475. but I could be wrong.

And don't forget that if you have a low income you may be able to claim Working Tax Credit.


So to sum up, go and see the tax man now.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

What Chris said:)


The tax man is very nice & helpful, tax forms are pretty simple to complete and a small business accountant is your friend if you find the paperwork arduous.


I was self employed for several years - too mean to pay an accountant, but it did mean I had to keep all the paperwork myself properly. The tax office were always helpful.


However deadlines are deadlines. You've missed the one for last years tax return, as that was 30 Jan. Were you self employed before April 2009? If not you are still in this tax year so not behind. if so, you will have £100 fine. Get on with it!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



Just been doing some quite serious reality checking and realised how far off reality I've been living in with regard to self employment and tax.

Basically my brain has just been going tick click clicketty tock, Aha! tick tick tick boinnng! Ahaaaaaa!


Now I've got to figure out a way of explaining this...


OK well I've just been looking at all my invoices and bank statements, and putting them into a spread sheet, which I've never done before. I was completely shocked by how little I've been earning, and how much I've been relying on granny's inheritance money and more recently, bail outs from my dad. I always thought it was the other way round, with me earning most of my money with top ups from a private income. I'm amazed that I managed to stretch it so far. That puts me firmly into the category of "trustafarian", a classification I've always rather despised because they usually have loads of money and no direction in life, and generally not particularly likable (this impression may be skewed oweing to a statistically insignificant sample size). But I'm one of them! OMG!!!


My new year's resolution last year was to make myself financially independent. That started off badly and got worse.


I had shingles to start off with, then the bank piled on charges after I paid money into my account a day late, then I had 'flu, then the bank charged me more and more in a cascade effect, which made me exceedingly depressed, and then I tried to find work but couldn't, and then I asked for a rescue package from my dad (granny's money had all but vanished) (bless her!) but the cheque didn't arrive for 3 months because my mum, who has early onset alzheimer's, kept throwing it away when it arrived in the post, and then the bank cancelled my overdraft limit, and then my mum's condition deteriorated because she hadn't been taking her medication, and then let's add some sensible punctuation. Big breath...


Dah di dah di dah. Multiply that paragraph by 2 and sprinkle in some scary weirdness from my sister-in-law, and that's where I am now. The consequences of which are that I end up on a debt management scheme and in cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety.


Chapter 2.

My New Year's resolution this year is the same - to make myself financially independent.

Tax. Having just realised that I've been largely living off my tax deducted granny's money, and earning a bit on the side on all but one year is significantly under the tax threshold of £5000 ish, and as a consequence they're less likely to come down on me like a tonne of bricks and sent me to prison as I had been led to believe (that's how distorted my thinking had become until extremely recently - I kid ye not). Shall I just go straight to them and come completely clean and show them the figures and add that I've been living in a strange bubble of general anxiety and depression and possibly aspergers, which has made my life unnecessarily difficult for myself? And that I'm doing my best to sort myself out.


Or do I need to get legal advice first?


If I can get that straightened out that would relieve me of a huuuuge burden.


Chapter 3.

Work. I'm not currently in a position to be self employed as a designer. My computer is 7 years old and I don't even have a printer that works properly. I'm wasting so much time with my computer grinding away... What the hell am I doing? This is ridiculous!

I'm charging ludicrously low rates for my services. I haven't quite gotten out of the mindset that I'm not a student anymore. So I need to get my rates at least in proportional to the standards of professionalism that I am capable of.

So what am I doing wrong?

Taking on work that I can't do. Really stupid thing to do. Bogs you down like crazy and leaves you feeling tragic. If you can't do it then find someone who can do it, but if not, forget it!

Don't work for people who spit out ideas all over the place and have no real concept of what they really want.

Don't work with friends - they just want cheap labour, unless they state otherwise.

Don't work on too many things at once. It' gets way too confusing.

Don't collaborate with people who steal your ideas and use them as your own. Absolute nightmarish disaster. I did that with certain drawing and mapping project which became an international success, my collaborator locked me out of the web site and took the idea on exhibitions round the world and left me with a few crumbs, at the same time he completely screwed it up.

I seem to be the world expert on what not to do! Let's have some do's:

Have a coherent pricing strategy.

Keep tabs on hours.

Be organised and tidy.

Be able to deliver on time within deadlines. If there isn't a deadline, set one yourself and adhere to it. Try not to leave it all to the last minute.

Make sure you have the right equipment that's up to the quality for the job.

Have a legally binding contract, particularly with larger projects.

Have a sensible marketing strategy, including a website and up-to-date business cards which target the appropriate market.

Have a clear idea about what you are doing and present it in a way that people know that's what you do, in an enticing way so they might be tempted to use your services.

I think there are books written on this which I don't really need to rewrite, but you get the idea. I need to apply pretty much apply all of these and swing them into action.


I trust I'm not being delusional thinking I can be a success. Not only am I technically adept with a whole bundle of computer skills. but I have a considerable amount of drawing, artistic talent and imagination which I am not currently making the most of, and I'm sitting on a not inconsiderable portfolio of art which, if applied properly, could become a formidable cash cow. That's not just me blowing my own trumpet, people have being saying that over and over again - they can't all be wrong.


If I can be more successful there would be much less to worry about, or at least the worries would have a more tangible basis on reality and with more obvious solutions. I should be out there in the real world having a normal life with things like relationships, family, a house, furnished with wall sized plasma screens in every room, maybe a dog or a pet iguana, or whatever, and not sitting in a garage where I'm living, feeling somewhat threatened and isolated.


I really really really x10 to the power of 10^10 want to get out of the situation I'm in and get into the real world where real things happen, so I'm well motivated, but there's some mechanism that probably just needs a few drops of oil and tightening to make me function properly.


Normally when I write all this kind of stuff I tuck it away on a dark corner of my hard drive and forget about it. So here we go folks! What do you reckon?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...