Making Tax Digital

Making Tax Digital

This is a cartoon drawn for my accountants, Morgan Cameron, about the Government’s ‘Making Tax Digital’ scheme. In summary: from 2019 businesses and people like me will have to submit our tax information four times a year, instead of once, as we do now. You can read more about Making Tax Digital here.

The plan, as I understand it, is for the whole process to be ‘digital’, whatever that means. A lot more time will need to be spent on record keeping, rather than doing it all in one go for an annual tax return. HMRC will get some of the information ‘directly from from employers, banks, building societies and other government departments’.

If you need an accountant to help make sense of it I can recommend Morgan Cameron, who have been helping me with my tax return for a number of years now.

Warning: never take financial or other advice from a cartoonist.

The special office

the special office

Important footnotes
This diagram is not for one moment supposed to be me complaining about how difficult my life is. I am fully aware that my life is not difficult and that I am very lucky to have my own office, a radio etc.

It is, perhaps, a commentary on the plight of the creative freelancer, balancing ‘the need for stimulation against the need for isolation’ (tweet by Hugh @gapingvoid).

I find I get a lot more done during the two days a week I now spend at the Church Times offices surrounded by newsroom sounds and goings-on, but were I to be there all the time I doubt I’d ever draw any cartoons.

I was thinking of doing a little video showing the exciting features of my HQ – I nearly did it today, but it feels a bit strange talking to oneself. Well, actually it feels quite normal, but I don’t usually do it on video. Let me know if there’s any aspects you have a particular interest in, such as the ‘antique’ wooden dresser in the kitchen or views of the corridors.

Pictures of my new office

I now have the keys to the new office and will be moving some things in over the weekend. Here are some pictures of the office in its empty state. Warning: Those who find dull pictures uninteresting should look away now.

dave walker office
Above: Empty office. Note heater and powerpoints. The computing department will be on the left I think, and the drawing department on the right. The location of the filing department is still to be determined. It looks a bit dark – that is because the lights aren’t on, it was cloudy and the windows are tinted a bit.

(Click ‘read the rest of this entry’ for more of this kind of thing.)

Read morePictures of my new office

Highlights from my filing system

Regular readers will know that at the weekends the budget for this blog does not allow for the posting of cartoons or interesting anecdotes. Instead I focus largely on highlights from my filing system.

Today, a section from my bank file entitled ‘letters informing me of my idiocy’.

letters informing me of my idiocy

This is where I file letters that tell me that I have done something wrong in banking terms, generally whilst paying in my cheques at the automatic cheque machine. Usually it is because the amounts do not tally because somewhere along the line I have pressed the wrong button, either on my calculator or on the automatic cheque machine itself.

I have never been very good at pressing buttons correctly. If, at a future interview, I am asked “What are your weaknesses?”, I shall reply, “Pressing buttons correctly”. Unless the job largely relies upon the ability to press buttons correctly, in which case I shall make something up and this blog post will be quietly deleted.

How do you administrate yourself?

cartoon from

Cartoon from We Blog Cartoons. It isn’t new, but I’m hoping no-one will notice.

My administrative systems are in a state of meltdown. I have never really got on top of the organisational side of running a business as many of you will be able to testify, but now it has got to the point of something needing to be done. I’d tell you more, but it is all rather embarrassing.

I think I need to get someone in.

What do you do? Do you have some sort of system that works, or do you pay someone else to organise things?

Working from home

freelance working

Most people would, if given the chance, like to work from home. There are of course huge benefits. Unfortunately I am finding that the perceived benefits are all outweighed by the sheer isolation. As a cartoonist I’d say about 95% of my communication is done via the internet, about 3% by letter and perhaps 2% by telephone. It is therefore entirely possible for me to go a week of my work time without speaking to another human being on the telephone, let alone face to face (I do speak to people in non-work time I should hasten to add). This is not really good for my general wellbeing, mental health etc. This has the knock on effect that I then find the work I have to do harder to do, meaning I spend even more time staring at a blank piece of paper and less out and about, and so on and so forth.

I think I need to make some sort of change, but I’m not sure what. I’ve tried to find somewhere local to go and work where there are other people, but without success. I can get into London fairly easily, but the cost of travel and renting a desk would make doing my current work from there prohibitive I think. I can get to other places on the London Fenchurch Street-Upminster-Basildon-Leigh-Southend railway line easily too, but again I haven’t found anything.

I don’t really know why I’m telling you this. I do try to avoid angsty self-centred blog posts as much as I can, but you’ll have to forgive the odd one. But you never know, there might be someone reading who has an idea or good advice or with whom I could collaborate in some way. If so get in touch – in the comments or dave (at) cartoonchurch dot com if e-mail is more appropriate.

This might be my last blog post for a few days for one reason or another. We’re just a bit busy with this and that. See you on Monday or thereabouts all being well.

Kiva: lend money to entrepreneurs in the developing world

This is a very good thing that I saw a while ago but hadn’t remembered to write about until I saw it on Kristen’s bus stop blog.

In summary, Kiva is a site that enables you to loan money to people who are running small businesses in developing countries. What a good idea. As Kristen points out, you can do a search and find people working in your area of interest. And you get your money back so that you can loan it again and again. Fantastic.

I think I’m going to give it a go, but not tonight as I’m on one of my late night ‘should-have-done-it-earlier’ deadline dashes. Truly I am an idiot.

I must do my sums

Update (31st January, 1am): Well, the good news is that I think my first ever tax return has been entirely filled in. I’m sure I’m being very generous to the tax man, but such is the price of not being good with these things. The bad news is that the tax website has entirely stopped working, so I’m unable to be sure that they got it (I didn’t see a ‘we’ve got your tax return’ screen, though I did get an encouraging e-mail). I’m also unable to pay my tax, so at this moment the £100 fine is still coming my way. Anyway, giving up and going to bed.

Update (31st January, 9am): All done and paid. Hurrah!

sums cartoon

Tax return cartoon

tax return cartoon

It is the time of year when people who are last minute about things do their tax returns. I noticed from the procrastination comments thread that there are others who are in the same boat as I, so perhaps this post will act as a motivational resource to help us all.

I am grateful to the Government for the advertisements telling me about the dire consequences of not getting my form filled in on time, but there are one or two things that I am not sure that they understand:

  • In order to do my tax return I need to have my paperwork all sorted out.
  • In order to sort out my paperwork I need to empty the green box containing paperwork.
  • In order to empty the green box containing paperwork I need to have some room to lay out the paperwork in piles.
  • In order to lay out the paperwork in piles I need to remove the large box of coat hangers that is occupying the central area of my office.
  • In order to remove the large box of coat hangers that is occupying the central area of my office I need to sort the coat hangers into those ones which I plan to use in the forseeable future and those which can go to the garage to be stored until some time in the future when coat hangers become a scarce commmodity.
  • In order to sort the coat hangers into those ones which I plan to use in the forseeable future and those which can go to the garage to be stored until some time in the future when coat hangers become a scarce commmodity I need to untangle the coat hangers (which have become intermingled and caught up with each other).
  • I feel that it is wrong to spend much time untangling the coat hangers (which have become intermingled and caught up with each other) because I should really be getting on with doing my tax return.

As you can see these things are often not as simple as they first appear and I do not feel the Government always understands this.

OK, some motivational talking:

Come on everyone! Let’s do our tax returns! Yes yes yes!

[If you want to reuse the tax return cartoon on your blog (though it is a bit cartoonist-centric) you are welcome to do so using the following code]

<img src="" alt="cartoon from" />
<p>Cartoon by <a href="">Dave Walker</a>. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at <a href="">We Blog Cartoons</a>.</p>