Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Simmering rage and resentment.....

Some mornings it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

I feel that the following post should come with a disclaimer, so if you are not in the mood for a full-on RANT then move along, there is nothing to see............

And the cause of my rant?

Inland Revenue. Or rather my phone call to their so called 'helpdesk' and the subsequent meltdown it's caused.

I've been watching all those 'tax needn't be taxing' ads which have been running recently on TV in advance of the deadline for self assessment tax returns, safe in the knowledge that my tax return was all done and dusted ages ago.

I use the HM Revenue & Customs online service, since, as they point out on their website "there are many benefits to using HMRC's online services"
The most salient of the many helpfully bullet-pointed 'benefits' include the following
  • You know immediately if information has been received or not.
  • It is more reliable and efficient than using paper, and can cut down on storage space, post and administration.
  • As information usually passes between computers without manual intervention, there is less chance of it being misinterpreted, or of mistakes being made.
  • You do not need to rely on paper communication coming or going through the post which builds in delay.

That's all very fine and dandy. Except don't believe a word of it! THEY LIE!!!!!!

Apparently, even if you submit your self assessment tax return online (which I dutifully did on 30 May 2008) AND add the newly available online element of the partnership self assessment form (which I also did on 30 May 2008) you still have to send a paper form with exactly the same information for the partnership.
I'm now in line for a £300 fine for not knowing this, despite the fact they admitted they do have the relevant partnership information from my online submission. When I politely enquired why, if they already have the information, I have to submit it again on paper, the answer was, 'You just do that's all'.
What really galls me is I had a reminder through the post last September, rang them up and had it confirmed that they had received the return(s). I did ask specifically if there was anything else I had to do, and was told no.

"WHAT IS THE BLOODY POINT OF DOING IT ONLINE IF I ONLY HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN ON PAPER" is what I wanted to scream down the phone but I kept my temper, despite being talked to as if I was a retarded child, and only burst into tears when I got off the phone. How come you always think of the witty riposte when it's too late?
Anyhoo, after trying (and failing abysmally) to get my concerns across, I finally asked if I could give them a bit of customer feedback, to the effect that why don't they put a big red box, (if it flashes and goes AWOOGA AWOOGA at the same time, so much the better) which absolutely nobody could miss, slap-bang in the middle of the online form, saying that even if you complete the partnership section, you must still send in a sodding 7 page form with exactly the same sodding information.

The 'helpful adviser' said she would pass on my feedback but I could definitely hear the sound of paper being screwed up and thrown into an overflowing 'customer suggestions' dustbin.

Sorry folks...........had to get it off my chest.


Debbie said...

Bastards.. I think that says it all.
I know all about the sodding fines. My accountant put my accounts in late and they fined me over a grand .. I went mental..Needless to say accountant didn't dare charge me, cause I'd have shoved his bill where the sun don't shine.. Phew feel better now...

rosanna said...

I know it won't be of any help but in Italy is exactly....WORST!!!! Not only we cannot do anything online BUT we HAVE to phisically go to an advisor with ALL our stuff, spend loads of time with him/her and then cross fingers! Yes because if they mistake the fault is only and completely YOURS.
Non content if you make any trivial mistake, not only you are fined but it begins a long journey around offices looking for your officer having received a threathening letter.
You call the aforesaid officer to have an appointment but... when you arrive with the papers of FIVE years taxes you discover that he/she as gone on holiday. You plead for someone else because, of course, you have taken a day off. Nope! you have to call the day after!
Everything starts again.
At last you meet this faboulous creature to find out that she is a sort of gnome who starts counting every single cent you have declared for the last 5 years and she IS NOT ABLE to make counts. So you tell her and START AGAIN.
After 3 hours you are knackered and you know you have to pay ONLY E 345.00. But it is finished.Just in time to go to work in the afternoon cause you have not a day off!!!
It looks like Kafka but it is what I had to do this summer at the peak of heath.
Minihugs Rosanna;-)

depesando said...

every year I pay a nice little man in Lewes real money to check my accounts are filled in correctly and submit them for me - I cannot deal with the revenue personally - too many bad memories.

Some years ago I changed accountants after a house move - the woman I engaged was recommended by friends, she took all my books, plus a few old ones - all my receipts, and promptly had a mental breakdown and wet missing for a year ( nothing to do with me, I might add ) The ensuing drama that unfolded between me and the Revenue was like a gothic horror, in the end they took me to court for more money than I actually earned - eventually it was discovered that they actually owed me money - but because the revenue are not actually allowed to say they made a mistake, I still have a CCJ that is simple discharged, as if I had paid the fine. I did get a letter apologising for any distress caused by administrative complications - but no admission of guilt etc. I hate them.

Sandra Morris said...

Good grief!
I'd been thinking of penning a letter of complaint but on second thoughts perhaps I'd better leave well alone!
I'd stand a better chance with the Spanish Inquisition.