Christmas for freelancers: a time for bonuses galore!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – a time of goodwill to all peeps, of geese getting fat, and freelancers wondering whether there’s any way of making a little extra while their clients are all in hibernation. Rejoice, good folk, for the taxman isn’t as miserly as you might think – in fact, HMRC is full of Christmas cheer this time of year. Here are a few things freelancers ought to be celebrating, rather than harrumphing off into the corner, muttering “bah, humbug”.

You’re gonna throw a party!

What’s Christmas without an office party and the resulting embarrassment, shame and killer hangover? Why on earth should freelancers miss out on all that communal joy? The good news is that HMRC agree with us wholeheartedly – so much so, in fact, that anyone operating as a Ltd Company can throw a tax-deductible shindig to the tune of £150 per head. And, as a rule of thumb, that extends to clients, employees and all their partners.

So you could have a slap up Christmas dinner, plus booze, plus taxis home, and (providing you can show receipt-based evidence that you managed to restrict it to that magic £150 figure per person), it can all be put through the company accounts. So get out there and get your twerk on. The season of shame starts here!

You’re gonna go shopping!

Not only is it fine to put your party through the accounts, you can also put some of your presents through, too. Now, before you go splashing the cash on anything lavish, you should know there are restrictions. The gifts ought to be considered ‘advertising’ (so, for example, something bearing your company name or logo), should have a £50 per gift limit, and can’t involve alcohol, tobacco, cash (or anything easily transferable to cash, such as vouchers).

You can also put gifts through your accounts that you have bought as an employer for one of your employees. So get out there and play Santa (albeit a Santa on a tight budget with a fairly strict moral code).

You’re gonna do your tax returns! 

Yeah, sorry about that. It’s can’t all be hangovers, photocopied bums and branded presents. Sometimes the fun simply has to end (you’re allowed to slope off muttering “bah, humbug” now). The truth is, though, that the winter holidays are the ideal time for getting your tax returns sorted out, especially as January 31st is the deadline.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be like pulling chocolate-rotted teeth. With an online service like My Accountant Friend, it’s far less painful, mainly because you’ll have all of your digital paperwork in order, and the submission to HMRC can be done with the click of a button via our dashboard.

So while your freelance friends scamper around looking for an accountant who isn’t suffering from the excesses of New Year, you can have it all sorted before 2017 even arrives.

You’re gonna buy yourself a nice new…

Far be it from us to push you into buying that iPad Pro, but if you’ve been putting it off, there’s enough in the coffers, and you can honestly say it would mainly be for business purposes, then a tactical but joyful purchase might be a tax-efficient way of tackling the absence of the Christmas bonus – something that a freelancer rarely ever sees. So, off to Currys with you. What’s it gonna be?

One last word to round this piece up: be responsible! On any of these points, you should chat to your accountant first. Make sure you can justify your spending before you bankrupt yourself. No amount of help from Santa could fix that.

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