When I run for President of This Ball of Rock We Call Earth, I’d promise to make a few changes for freelance and self-employed parents.
Government-backed weekly delivery of tea bags? Done.
30 hours free childcare from birth? Hell yes.
Make BRIO a legitimate business expense? Amen, and the rest.
In fact, here are some other things that — in my brave new world — would be tax-deductible expenses for parents working for themselves.
The flu jab
Freelancing parents should either be entitled to a free flu jab each winter, or if not, the cost of the jab should be tax-deductible. Am I wrong? Just imagine the impact that would have on the ecomony.
With the kids licking each other’s toes at every opportunity and zero sick pay on offer, fighting the constant barrage of child-related germs is our number one struggle. The kid being sick is one thing, but being so ill that we can’t physically work is the icing on the cake.
I was sat at my desk recently with zero childcare and nausea-inducing-sweaty-palms-and-ankles flu, surrounded by tissues, physically shaking and praying to the freelancing gods that I would survive this. I did. But it knocked me sideways for over a fortnight which, in freelancing terms, means less money in the bank.
So, if I choose to pay for the flu jab to make sure that I can keep working, keep earning, keep putting Haribo on the table, then I would definitely class that as a legit. business. expense.
Thanks to inflexible nursery hours and one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world, the reality is — that until our kids are old enough to go to school — a huge proportion of us are working with little or no child-free time.
As much we like to tell our friends that the kids while away their afternoons carving spoons and walking through wardrobes, the reality is that the TV or iPad is seriously earning it’s keep while we’re trying to get some work done.
And as amazing as CBeebies is (and it really is amazing), there’s only so much Justin Fletcher any of us can stomach in one 24-hour period and when it comes to picky toddlers, sometimes only Peppa Pig will do. As a result, there are families across the land with perfectly good TV licenses also forking out for Netflix purely for work-purposes.
You want to argue the toss over that Mr Taxman? Bring it.
Can they fix it? YES. THEY. CAN.
Whether it’s a client meeting with child in tow, a Skype call with BBC News or surviving the post office queue at 3pm on a Friday — a packet of breadsticks and a soggy satsuma will save our freelancing bacon time and time again.
After some quick back-of-a-raisin-packet maths, I’d say I personally spend approximately £8 a week on emergency work-related snackage for the kid and that’s a pretty conservative estimate, in the run up to a deadline that shit can spiral very quickly. And for those of us with less childcare or jobs that involve a lot of travelling around, eight quid might buy you two Costa blueberry muffins and a juice box, so… 20 minutes? Add all that up over the course of a financial year and that’s a significant chunk off your tax bill.
Plus, under my presidency, the new rucksack you buy every three months after you’ve found an entire fruit bowl rotting in the inside zip compartment would also be allowed as a business expense. You are most welcome.
Amazon Prime Now
Because sometimes, just sometimes, the freelancing parent excrement hits the proverbial fan and you really need some shiny new over-priced plastic toy to keep the kiddos distracted and you need it NOW (as my Sylvanian Families debacle proves).