Finding balance

In January starry girl will turn four, and start school. This will be a big change for all of us, and I can’t quite believe that it’s got here so fast. These last few months with her at home for most of the time are, I’m sure, going to go by so fast. She can’t wait for it and most days she tells me all about the pink lunchbox and school bag she’s decided that she’s getting to go to school with.

So I am trying to think about what I’m going to do while both children are at school. The idea of finding a job is not that appealing at the moment, but I have been investigating working for myself. One issue with this is the way that the Dutch tax self-employed people. As soon as you start earning you have to pay tax on your income (there is no zero rate threshold like in the UK), as well as submit VAT returns quarterly. There are a whole load of tax breaks, but only for those who work more than 1225 hours a year. The children will be at school for 24 hours a week, 40 hours a year, which is 960 hours per year. Which is less than you have to work to classify for these tax breaks.

It is feasible for me to hit that target of 1225 hours per year. It would mean working for all the time that the children are at school and every evening, as well as during the holidays, which is far more than I am prepared to do. I would have to do all the shopping, cooking, cleaning etc while the children were with me. I would have no time to relax, or do any exercise, or time with visitors. I wouldn’t be able to help out at school, or see friends during the week. And I would have minimal time with my husband. And that’s not what I want to do. OK we could pay for the children to go into after school care, but I don’t want to give up my time with them.

For me, it would be alot to give up purely to hit the target that the tax office sets. It would be a big stressor on our family which doesn’t need to be there. Setting up a business is difficult enough in itself, without feeling forced into working twice as many hours as you feel you want to. I can understand that the Dutch government want to reward people who are serious about running their own business, it just seems to me that they’ve set the bar very high.

I know I could work out a more realistic number of hours a week for me to work; I just need to calculate what the costs of running my own business will be. So that I can work out my break-even point and see how realistic it is that I’ll meet that. Also, by setting up as self-employed I will lose the thousand euro a year tax rebate we get for me staying at home. So there’s lots to take into account! As well as working out exactly what I want to do…

I am still thinking about my options. Hopefully I will have figured out what I’m going to do before she starts school!

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