HMRC Making Tax Digital

There’s a lot of hoo-har over that utter shitshow that is Brexit and some of it is due to the many levels of bureaucracy forced upon British exporters now we’re no longer in the EU.  This, of course, despite the promises by the Brexshitters that leaving would get rid of all that red tape and make us more prosperous.

Well that same degree of fuckwitted belligerence applies to HMRC.  A few years back, they decided that it would be a good idea to roll out a new policy called “Making Tax Digital”:

“Making Tax Digital is a key part of the government’s plans to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs.”

Utter bollocks!

Originally, there was a threshold for turnover before you’d be forced to submit VAT returns in the way the HMRC demanded, but that threshold was shelved, so now, if you’re VAT-registered than you have to submit them their way.  The roll-out was delayed by COVID-19 – who knows why – but it’s up and running now.

I was self-employed for many years and was VAT-registered as 95% of the work I was doing was B2B (business to business).  For the last 14 years I’ve been employed but still do a minimal amount of work freelance, so I charge VAT and claim it back on the expenses I incur.

Copies of all invoices in and out are stored in folders on my computer (and backed up) and the calculations for my VAT returns (and indeed Self-Assessment) are entered manually on a spreadsheet.  I used to then enter the numbers on the VAT return online and voila! Straight after the end of the VAT period, in they went and I either paid out the VAT or reclaimed it.

But not any more.  I’m not allowed to do this myself. I have to keep records (like I already do) with an ‘audit trail’ (like I already do) but now I have to link my numbers through to a new spreadsheet or solution offered by one of the 196 providers of this so-called “bridging software”. By “offered” I mean “sold” either on a one-off basis or more often on an ongoing basis, costing hundreds of pounds a year … off my profit. That’s if the software works on your system: PWC’s, for instance, only works on a Windows computer and not a Mac, and costs £144 a year.  At least PWC say how much it is; some of their competitors don’t.

I’m away for a few weeks overseas every few weeks (in the EU and back four of five times a year) and as I’m writing this, I’m ready to submit a VAT return but cannot because the HMRC will only send my new username and password to me by post and I need to enter that in the bridging software so that my figures from my spreadsheet go via another spreadsheet to HMRC’s VAT portal.

You know, the one I used to copy the numbers into before and for zero extra cost…

Video Nasty

“Viewer Discretion Advised”, as our colonial cousins might say.

I’ve had some footage from the CCTV camera at the Badgers at Petworth that show the crash that killed me for a short time and led to some permanent, “life-changing” injuries for quite a while. I first received it during my legal action against the driver of the Yaris which was eventually settled last year, but them he seemed to develop some whiplash injury and decided to sue me after hanging on to some Doctor’s report for a couple of years.

That’s now settled too, so I thought I’d upload the video so the more mawkish amongst you could see it.

Anyway, here it is:


Remember Me?

Well a lot has happened since the last update in April 2019, the main things being a crash with life-changing injuries and a global pandemic.

So in chronological order, there was a road traffic collision in July 2019 between a car (knobhead) and a motorcycle (me) which ended up costing me two fingers on my left hand and a lifetime of pain. The main injuries are outlined in this blog post, but it meant that after I left hospital and started walking again, I couldn’t grip a handlebar, so motorbikes and pushbikes weren’t on the agenda for a year or two.

Whilst I was recuperating and working full time, COVID-19 came along and we ended up working from home.  Given the Brompton was intended mainly for my commute, cycling up and down the stairs between my bed and my desk wasn’t really an option, and so it languished in the garage.

We were intending to buy a villa in Corralejo, Fuerteventura and live there for part of the year but that gift that keeps giving – Brexit – got in the way, so we can only spend 90 out of every 180 days (on a rolling basis) in the Schengen Area and we didn’t get residency due to COVID-19 lockdowns – Spanish and British – stopping us from being able to prove residency to the satisfaction of the Spanish Government (what a wonderful Catch 22 situation).

So we are renting the villa on a ‘rent to buy’ basis and I thought the Brompton would be great to nip to the shops on, so bought a padded travel bag to fly it across. We then decided two things: we would actually hire a car for the full duration of our stays; and that we would both need a bike, so a couple of mountain bikes were bought and that’s what I’m using out here at the moment, racking up 208km so far at the time of writing.

The Brompton remains in the garage…

We are buying a house in Surrey now, near to a railway station, so you never know: I might possibly use it when/if I have to go into London for work. If not, then it may be up for sale…

MoT 2022

Whilst I was in the USA doing the Pacific Coast Highway in a 5.0L V8 Mustang Convertible, I thought it was long overdue for Blue Rex to have some care and attention, so it was off to Larry at PDQ to give it a good fettle and its MoT.

And it really was a good fettle: the old Datatool alarm was finally consigned to the bin, as was the battery. The carbs were basically overhauled and a couple of pipes and o-rings were replaced. There was a new chain and sprocket set. There was a new set of tyres to replace those that were on there that were many years old and had all the grip of Donald Trump.

It was then MoT’d and it passed with a mileage of 19,462 which was 40 miles up from last year’s and was basically the mileage out of London to PDQ.

Whilst at PDQ, Larry whacked it on the dyno to see how it measured up, some 11 years after the team at PDQ had breathed on it. 154.89bhp at 10,100rpm (158.37bhp) and 90.5lb/ft of torque at 7,830rpm (91.5lb/ft), 2011 figures in brackets.

2022 Dyno Results

It’s a new dyno – so not necessarily a true like-for-like comparison – but it’s still close to what it was putting out before, which is pleasing.

I used my disabled person’s Freedom Pass to get there, so it cost me nothing and the ride back was lovely: back in a little over an hour (with a fuel stop) thanks to filtering and people working from home.

First ‘Run’ in 5½ Months

This morning I went for my first attempt at running since last October.

My Garmin f?nix 7S records or interpolates from the stride data/cadence when you’re running and when you’re walking which is useful.

In other blog news, I’ve long been sharing my Garmin Connect activities with Strava, so in the absence of ‘proper’ integration with Garmin Connect, I’ve added Strava’s activities list over there in the margin and a separate page up there at the top.

What’s New?

Well 10 years after doing my Route 66 trip on a Harley in August 2012 to celebrate being 50, I’m back with another plan for my 60th birthday (and to celebrate still being alive after my little incident in 2019): Pacific Coast Highway, North to South during summer 2022.

We fly out business class to San Francisco, collect a Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible and then drive off to the Fisherman’s Wharf area of San Fran for a couple of nights (and a trip to Alcatraz), before we head off down California SR 1 with stays along the way in some of the coolest hotels we could find.

We stop off en route for a few days in Downtown LA during which time we’ll be popping in to the Members’ area in the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club’s LA clubhouse for drinks and food.

We end up with a couple of nights in San Diego before we fly back in Club World again back to the UK.

It’s all booked, so watch this space!

Garmin f?nix 7S

I’ve been using a Garmin f?nix 3 Sapphire for quite a while now; it’s a big, chunky lump of a fitness watch but then it is feature-packed and suitable for many forms of exercise.  I also have an Apple Watch Series 4 which works really well, but doesn’t measure blood oxygen levels like my wife’s latest one does.

I pair it with a heart rate monitor that clips to a strap you wear around your chest and then shower and dry it after exercising. We bought my wife a Garmin Forerunner 735XT a few years back and that has heart rate measuring built in (like the Apple Watch).

Now that we’re splitting our time between the UK and Fuerteventura I’m having to cart the Garmin back and forth, so I decided to leave it there where I work out more and use the Apple Watch in the UK. That’s not perfect because I then have to manually add each one to Garmin Connect.

So for my 60th birthday, Alison has bought me the new Garmin f?nix 7S, choosing the smaller S model so it’s not as chunky and large, especially as it encourages you to wear it 24/7 to monitor heart rate, blood oxygen, sleep tracking, etc.  It’s early days yet but the results are fascinating. I expect over the next few weeks it should get to know me properly and calibrate all its reports around me.

Garmin f?nix 7S

An Update and Refocus

I’ve had a quick read of my running blog and I mention – but only in passing – the crash I had back in July 2019 that left me with “life-changing injuries”.

Since that other blog post with most of the details, I’ve had the rest of my little finger amputated (in December 2020) and I’m left with constant pain and a sufficient degree of disability to have qualified for a “blue badge” here in the UK.  Part of the pain management has been for us to move for part of the year out to Corralejo on Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco with its low rainfall and warm temperatures all year round, which definitely helps reduce the pain in my hand and pelvis.

It also means that I am more able to go for walks and cycle rides to try to loosen up my joints, lose weight (to lessen the duty on my pelvis/hips) and to work on my ‘wellness’ generally.

The aim is still to try to run but I try to avoid painkillers and running piles that pain on! So it’s a slow and steady race to reduce weight for less strain on my joints – my consultant years ago told me to avoid running because of my knee gradually wearing out – by exercising and eating healthily, especially as I hit 60 years old this year.