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Alice – Fostering Blog

Tuesday

Today is the day I am filing my tax return. Every year I tell myself that I will not leave it to the last minute and that when I receive the notification from the Inland Revenue in April I will get it filed straight away. So far this has just been a good intention because every year when the notification comes, I put it at the bottom of the to do list and it never gets done. As soon as the new year comes, my friend who is also a foster carer calls me in a panic and asks if I have filed my return yet. So, pretty much every year we get together in January and file our returns together.

I think the problem is – it’s the thought of filing the return because the crazy thing is, that it’s not even that difficult to do, and once again we agree to file it earlier next time round. I remember the first year of filing it, it seemed like a big faff, having to register with the inland revenue – getting the log in codes and passwords, and getting the account verified. You are then asked for the name of your business – why that was so hard to decide I will never know. We simply went with our surname followed by the word ‘fostering’ – now that wasn’t so difficult.

The good thing about filling the form in on line is that they take away all the questions that are not relevant to you, so it’s actually quite simple. The most complicated thing is working out your qualifying amount for your tax – and once you’ve done that a couple of times it doesn’t feel too hard. This is split into two parts – fixed amount and weekly amount – which you add together to get the qualifying amount. The fixed amount is £10,000 per year (or if it’s not a full year it’s the number of days you have been fostering times 10,000 and then divided by 365).

The weekly amount is easier – its £200 per week for under 11’s and £250 per week for over 11’s. Then you add these two amounts together for the qualifying amount. This is always much simpler when you have been fostering for a full year with no gaps!! So for us it is pretty straightforward as we have one child in place on along term basis!! It is slightly more complicated for my friend, who fosters short term and has a separate part time job.

By the time I have deducted all my expenses and mileage etc, I do not have to pay any tax. The only payment I make is my voluntary national insurance contributions. The whole thing took less than thirty minutes to file – and that was with gathering all my payslips and looking up bank interest etc. My friend and I agree to both put a reminder in our calendars for April to get it done straight away and not leave it to the eleventh hour again!! We will see how that one works out!!

A Less Ordinary Family Fostering Blog.