Thursday, 4 January 2018

Tax shouldn't be taxing...

Should it?

Another year, another January ruined not by the need to do the blessed thing per se, but by the sheer perverse difficulty of the bl**dy HMRC website together with their inability - once its completed - to accept the damned document. Just look - hours spent with bits of paper and a calculator - and then this...


I don't mind paying tax, not really. Not doing so is a bit like - I don't know - nicking those free sauce sachets from cafes: fine as long as everyone doesn't do it. What I DO mind - mind terrifically - is those rich bastards (yes, including royalty) who devise (or who employ others to devise) ingenious ways of avoiding their whack.

But even more than that I mind the way the HMRC website is so ridiculously user-unfriendly. Even logging in (as I did today) in order to complete the job I started last week takes you not to where you where before but to a completely different website, from where you struggle (well, I did) to navigate your way back to where you need to be.

And then, once it's done, it won't let you send it to them. Marvellous! I imagine they'd be just as sympathetic if I told them I couldn't submit it on time because my 'puter said 'no'.

But... but. There may just be the slightest glimmer of a silver lining. Because while I was waiting for what eventually didn't happen I was studying the PDF (colour, too!) version of the return I'd just completed. It's the equivalent of the twenty-odd page document I could have filled in by hand if I'd chosen to, I suppose.

Except it's not. It's different. Yes, it has all the answers to my questions, all the figures I've entered neatly placed in all the relevant boxes. But it also contains other boxes - whole sections - breaking down things like additional income into different categories with the aid of actually helpful explanatory notes (i.e. that actually explain things, and in a way that's easy to understand). And, as a result, I realised I'd made a mistake and added stuff that shouldn't be there. And going back and taking it off made a difference - quite a big one - to my bill.

Yes, unfortunately I do still owe them money. Which is just as well, really. Because if they owed me they'd have had to raise a cheque in order to pay me given that I was forced to tick the 'I don't have a bank account' box after failing utterly to be able to fill in the 'bank reference name or number' section.

No, it's not the sort code or the bank's name or my account number. It's some mysterious figure that I can't find anywhere, can't find anyone who seems to know about it, either. But a magic number that you need in order to get past the fierce monster that is section 7 (or whatever).

So, all in all, it's a good job I owe them, don't you think?

Just got to work out now how to let them know...

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