Posted on: 24 October 2016
Freelance working is a dream for many creatives. Actors, writers, artists and craftspeople often love the idea of not having to answer to anybody; when you work freelance, your creativity is at the centre of everything you do, and many people whose talents lie in this area are strongly motivated by the idea of setting their own schedules. The trouble starts around tax time, though: If you're not the sort of person who keeps impeccable records and has a thorough understanding of business procedure, you might find the idea of dealing with your own financial year end a daunting one.
Thankfully, there's one thing you can do that's almost guaranteed to make the process a little easier: You can hire an accountant. This might seem like a big step, but it's actually an extremely sensible and economical way forward for many freelance creatives. It gives you the freedom to stop worrying about your tax return and get back to doing what you do best, and here's why.
#1: You won't need to worry that you've missed anything
There are a lot of nuances to dealing with your own financial year end that people without financial training can easily miss. Did you know, for example, that if you don't apply for an Australian Business Number you could be obliging your clients to pay almost half your earnings in tax on your behalf before you see a single cent? Figuring out your taxable earning can be stressful all by itself, particularly if maths was never your strong point--and missing anything could lead to hefty fines.
By hiring an accountant, you're investing a little money now in ensuring that you won't need to shell out for those fines in the future. They'll make sure you haven't missed anything, and you'll be able to sleep soundly safe in the knowledge that there are no nasty financial surprises around the corner.
#2: You might be surprised by what you can claim tax relief on
If you're self-employed and you work from home, there's a surprisingly large list of things you don't have to pay tax on, for example:
- Heating and lighting for the room in which you work, during your business hours
- Your bill for business-related phone calls or an internet connection you rely on to work
- The materials you use to create the things you sell
- Computers, graphics tablets and other essential tools of your trade
An accountant will be able to help you declare these things and figure out if there are any business-related expenses you're missing. Some freelancers find that the money they save this way pays for the accountant's services entirely!
#3: You'll free up plenty of time to do what you love
Let's face it, tax returns take time, and for anyone who is self-employed, time really is money. An accountant can do in a single afternoon what it might take you a week to puzzle out and won't stress during the process.
Once you've been trading for a few years, you're keeping impeccable records and you're used to the process, it can be reasonable to go it alone. To begin with, though, it's well worth hiring an accountant to help you get things up and running--and you may find that it pays for itself when you do.Share