Joys of the Tax man

The worst thing about working freelance is the constant attention you get from HM Revenue & Customs, i.e. the tax man, i.e. bane of everyones existence. Just over the last few days I’ve received 4 letters from them, I dread opening just one of their letters and now I get that experience quadrupled, joy. The first wasn’t a big deal just a request for national insurance payments, they come every now and again and only are around £30, so no great pain in my arse just yet. The next one was heavy with contents, which is never a good thing when they send you that much in one envelope, and of course it didn’t disappoint to create and aching anus pain and crush my spirit harder than a Yorkshire terrier being humped by a sex starved hippo given a dose of adrenaline and Viagra.

I shake the contents onto my bed and find 3 pages and a leaflet titled “How to pay”, so you know this is going to be good, and by good I of course mean it’s going to deplete any remaining feelings of trust and compassion I had for the human race. My eye gravitates towards the one with numbers and figures, I skim read to the bottom and find my total tax due is £324.32. It was supposed to be £1,258.78 but they over charged my tax so I get a lucky break (feel the sarcasm, feel it burn). There’s no date to pay on it so I have to find it nestled in another letter, which is the tax man’s favourite game giving you all the details hidden within many pages, lord forbid that it could all be in one place. They’re like NPC’s in a RPG handing you quests that make you walk all over the game to complete, giving you their life story when all you need to know is that they want 10 boars killed.

I instantly ignore the one titled “How we worked out such-and-such”, it’s not like I’m going to understand any of their jargon and find out I don’t have to pay. I read the last page which is a very personnel letter, instead of using words like “we want” it’s “I want” making it feel like someone at the tax office is talking to me on a one-to-one basis, it even ends saying I can call them for any help I may need. Now that would be reassuring except that they don’t give me a name, hell they don’t even end with a goodbye the blocks of text just end. Are they shy? Do I need to do a quest do learn your name? They are desperately trying to not become a faceless company but their attempt only points out how cold, impersonal and faceless they really are. “I enclose my tax calculations based on the amounts shown in your Tax Return,” that’s nice so you’ve gone through my tax forms and done the calculations but I’m not allowed to know who you are, isn’t that the kind of gloating the criminal would do in a cat-and-mouse crime movie, “Aha detective I know your first crush was on Lucy and to impress her you tried to climb the monkey bars but fell off into dog poo, and you where nicknamed poo pants from then on. I know you detective but do you know anything about me? Aha ha ha”. Only in this case it’s a boring criminal, “Aha Idlehands I know you misplaced a decimal point on your tax return and you’ll never know who I am, aha ha ha!”. Perhaps they know if I knew their name I would hunt them down and imprison them in a cage of sweaty fat men and force them to clean their balls with their tongue, while the magic roundabout theme plays on repeat in the background.

I find out that I have to pay them by the end of next week, oh that gives me plenty of time to find the money here let me magic 300 pounds from my arse, it’s my party trick. Want to know the best part of it all though, of course you do, it’s that the figure they’ve given me is only an estimate and may not be correct. What the bleeding hell, that’s like you asking a room mate if they want anything down the shops, only for them to reply “Yes but I’m not sure what I want, I think I need milk and cheese but I’m not sure. Based on that please buy me what I need, if you get it wrong I’ll be very upset with you. By the way here’s your deadline for when I need the stuff I think I need.” So you return with milk and cheese only to hear them complain, “Oh but I needed fromage frais as well, I’m disappointed with you. Now you must go down the shops and buy me two fromage frais to make up for your failure to correctly guess what I needed,” oh and by the way your room mate has no face and likes to read your mail and tell you about it.

My only saving grace has been that the last letter from them was a note saying they’ve repaid me all the money the accidentally took the year before, which is enough to pay off the tax from this year. I’d be more forgiving towards the tax office if they just did away with their jargon and red tape, and just talked to us like normal humans rather than expecting us to be perfect accountants that save money away just incase. If they could do that then I wouldn’t day dream of torturing them like in Saw (“I want to play a game faceless tax office employee, all your life you’ve revelled in fining people for being a millisecond late, demand large repayments on a weeks notice and making people fill out forms for everything THAT ARE FULL OF JARGON! Ahem sorry. Well now it’s time for you to fill in a form, a form to prove your existence is worthwhile. You will have 10 minutes to complete the form, if it is not posted to me in time then the flaming ravenous weasels will be released upon your jam covered crotch. Your time started at the beginning of this speech”). No if they could manage that then I’d be more forgiving and just knee them in the jubblies.


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January 2009
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