Bruce Lawson's personal site

The Tax Return Blues

I’m trying to do my self-assessment tax form. I’m not a stupid man, so it shouldn’t be too hard (and I got a grade B Maths O Level in 1983!) and I want to be fair and pay my share. My salary is PAYE but I have a small amount of extra income from a book I wrote 4 years ago – and, as it’s a tech book, it’s quite old so the sums are small.

That, plus derisory rates of interest from money I save (as breadwinner in a Hard Working British Family™, I save for a rainy day) means I have to fill in a form. Once again, it’s defeated me. Why, for example, do I have to tell them how many dollars I was paid in royalties? The money hits my bank in pounds, so I note it down like a good boy in pounds so I can pay income tax on it in pounds. So I can’t fill that bit in. How do I record my ISA savings which are tax free (there’s only a place to record net interest and gross interest).

The whole thing seems like a conspiracy to create jobs for accountants. I have nothing against accountants (except for my karate sparring partner Mohammed, because he’s loads better than me), but I shouldn’t need a professional to record a few hundred quid in book royalties and ISA interest.

And the website is so shockingly rubbish it’s embarrassing to be in the web industry.

So, tomorrow, like every other bloody year, I’ll call their overloaded phone help line and be coached through the form, at great expense to the tax payer.

Buy "Calling For The Moon", my debut album of songs I wrote while living in Thailand, India, Turkey. (Only £2, on Bandcamp.)

4 Responses to “ The Tax Return Blues ”

Comment by Nick Dunn

I’ve always declared foreign income in the pound value that hits my account. As for ISA interest, it is tax free so you don’t need to consider it at all on your tax return. Only taxable interest.

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