4 April 2008

Time to buy stuff

So it's the end of the tax year tomorrow. And being a freelancer, this means, as far as I understand it, that I should spend whatever money I have earned this year on things "for business purposes" so that I have less tax to pay.

My accountant informs me that large pieces of equipment, such as computers, and cars (and houses - darn it) are out. New computers are apparently permissible, but I could only claim on 40% in the first year, which is, quite frankly, rubbish. So I'm left in a bit of a quandary. When does something become sufficiently large/important/expensive so as to be conspicuous in the eyes of the Inland Revenue?

What if, for instance, I decide to go out and buy enough printer cartridges to keep my printer happy for a decade? Actually, scratch that - what fun are printer cartridges? It's always much more exciting to wait until the poor thing is squeezing out the last drops of ink and I'm up against a deadline so tight I can barely breathe before shelling out for a new one.

I already bought a new microphone and a stack of paper. What else does a writer need? Think, Hayley, think.

What about investing in some fancy equipment that transcribes interviews automatically? No, I'm never going to find that down Maplins on a Friday afternoon. Or how about some folders and a few of those scented, sparkly pens... Wait, what is this, year nine?

Okay, maybe I need to think a bit more creatively. I could sign up to every science communication/journalism/new media conference going and charge the travel expenses to my business account...

Bingo! Google informs me that the University of Texas is hosting a whole summer of science communication events. Brilliant. And of course, to save money on flights, I'll have to stay out there until September.

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