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?
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.