Already submitted my self-assessment – no mad rush this year

It’s usually about this time of year that I start thinking about filling in my tax return and submitting it online. Of course, I wouldn’t actually do it until January, but I’d start thinking about it now. When you complete your self-assessment and file it online you have until January 31st to complete it, file it and pay it – and last year I used every last second of that allowed time.

However, this year – or rather next year, as January is next year – I won’t have that last minute rush, that awful January weekend of going through bank statements and credit card statements, and that panic over how I can pay on time and not incur any penalties.

So what do we owe to this unrivalled and unprecedented show of organisation on my part? Is it because I’m using an accountant who has whipped me into shape with regards to my finances? Is because I’m using an online accountancy firm that has carefully gone through all of my receipts in plenty of time?

No, it’s because the Child Support Agency wanted to see my accounts for the last financial year, 2009-2010, forcing me to complete my return early. When I met with them in August they harped on about wanting to see my accounts, and wanting to know what each payment into my account was for over a four or five month period. Then, after my completing my self-assessment, filing my return and sending it to the CSA – they changed their mind and instead said they just wanted my return for 2008-2009, even though none of the payments they had asked about were for this time period.

I can’t complain too much. Their incompetence has forced me to file my tax return nice and early, meaning I don’t have any last minute rush in January – and I know exactly what I need to pay (which of course I’m still leaving to the last minute, you don’t pay a bill before you have to).

Thanks CSA – you’ve done something useful, even if it was by accident and it was through your own special brand of disorganisation and incompetence.

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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