Home: it’s typically thought of as a safe space, a haven, a private place that we control and shape as we wish. It’s where the heart is. But it’s also, as I’ve said before, the micro-engine of economic activity. The economy doesn’t exist without people, and people need homes and families. It’s why the housing shortage and housing costs are now often cited as a key barrier to economic growth - as is childcare.
I am now putting through my personal assistant - who helps around the house - as an expense through my company, through which I offer consulting services. I’ve done this with the blessing of my accountant who says it’s not uncommon; his rationale is that I require this assistance in order to be able to deliver my consulting services - which is true. I’ve done plenty of research to know that childcare is absolutely, positively NOT considered a business expense; however because my children are now older and the nature of the assistance I require is less child-focused and more home/admin focused, it is apparently now ok for it to be an expense - though, of course, (as elaborated here) deeply nonsensical and unfair.
In the course of doing my research about what can and can’t be expensed and in discussing with my accountant, I proposed what I thought would make the most sense as a reflection of the economic reality: we should have a joint company for our household, of which we are directors and shareholders, where we route the portion of our income that goes towards the running of our household and raising our children, and where we book all the household and child-related expenses.
(Check out this interesting and entertaining account of how to incorporate a family - for the US but I believe translates to the UK.)
My accountant demurred but I suspect this is how many households with two working parents in fact run their finances. It’s pretty crazy to me that our corporate and tax system is not set up to accommodate this. It reminds me of a podcast I listened to about how the whole financial system is based on corporate ‘legal fictions’ that essentially favour corporations over individuals leading to inequality, excessive risk taking and financial volatility.
It also reminds me of how in the 1800’s, housewife was classified as an occupation, and then economists decided that they should be classified as dependents, thereby transforming them from “important contributors to the national economy to basically kind of a drag on economic growth.” This according to Nancy Folbre, whom I heard interviewed on the Visible Women podcast.
It doesn't need to be this way! My next step is to investigate whether and how I might incorporate my household. If you're an expert in these matters, get in touch!