Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

By: Matt Humphrey

Like most people, I see my tax return as a necessary evil. I build it up, and put it off, most years leaving it until the last minute and choosing to do it when the weather is at it’s most depressing. Historically, this has not been an enjoyable process. Until this year.

Bear with me on this…

This is not an advertorial, this is my honest appraisal of my experience doing my tax return this year as a self-employed artist – using a service and app called Finmo. Just before Christmas my CurtainCall co-founder John and I met with J.D., founder of the tax platform.

We wanted to meet up as we appeared to both be interested in better understanding our respective customer’s needs, and working with them to improve our products. I decided to give Finmo a try- mostly as I didn’t want to be seen endorsing something that I hadn’t actually used myself. And paid for myself.

My usual process for starting my tax return is with going through reams of paper statements or, more recently, a never-ending scroll through lines and lines of transactions. At some point I have to convert the files of my statement downloads, and then re-upload to some accounting software, and start classifying them. YAWN – I’m boring myself just thinking about it.

NO MORE! Now we have Open Banking – and this app has made the most of this. I connected my bank account, and all of a sudden all my transactions were there in the Finmo mobile app.

Quick self-promotion... Finmo helps you track income and expenses and at the end of the year, the Finmo questionnaire works within the scope of your unique situation to file your Self Assessment.

Find out more

After a bit of app discovery time, I found the ‘game’ of classifying transactions. I’m not going to lie to you – I actually enjoyed this part the most. I did it over the course of a couple of commutes, filtering out transactions not relevant, and creating rules for repeated ones.

The mobile app is great for this part of the process, and the desktop gives greater insight and is probably easier for finishing off the prep work. There’s a nice dashboard that ‘predicts’ what the tax payable will be, along with progress of the actual process too. At this point I had to decide whether to pay or not. I figured that for less than £150 it was worth having someone qualified look at my return.

I’m so glad I did. I’ve always relied on my own judgment and interpretation of tax rules, hoping it was on par with what HMRC expects. The peace of mind of someone looking through my accounts, then phoning me to talk through it all is 100% worth the money. Especially as they could well save you money – like mine did. And with NO judgment at all, in fact I learned a lot!

Look – I’m not saying this is the best thing to have ever happened to me, but it has certainly taken the stress out of an otherwise arduous process that I habitually dread doing. Support was at hand via an attentive chat widget (on mobile and desktop), and it is easy to navigate.

Now that my return has been submitted (by the accountant), I may well start playing the mobile game again and get in good shape for next year’s return. But even if I don’t, and I leave it until Christmas 2020, I know it won’t be half as stressful as previous years!

Matt Humphrey

Co-founder of CurtainCall / Professional Photographer

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