Have you ever tried to deal with the tax office here in the U.K.? My word, what a depressing, soul-destroying experience!
My lovely postman delivered me a letter a few days ago. One of those brown, official-looking things with a window. When I picked it up, the first thing I saw was H.M.R.C. in big black letters across the top. My immediate thoughts were, ‘Oh my, how much do they want now?’ Opening the envelope with all the enthusiasm of a condemned man facing his last meal, I was pleasantly surprised with the content.
I’m So Happy
After getting through the initial Dear Mr Jones, blah, blah, blah I went straight to the bottom of the first page where there was a figure printed in huge black numbers! It said £17:53P, which isn’t an enormous life-changing amount of moolah, but, it’s coming my way. After all, I thought it was what I owed them, so it’s a bonus. The main contents of the letter explaining how to get your grubby mitts on this dosh by going online.
This is where the nice surprise went downhill, and fast. I typed the address they gave in the letter into my trusty old laptop. Immediately, it came back with things about checking out my identity and proving that I am the actual person who the money is being refunded to. What is my National Insurance number, no problem, it is etched in the back of my mind. Next question was do I have a valid Passport? No. I haven’t been abroad for a few years, mainly because of illness so I never renewed my Passport.
Then it all went pear-shaped, with a huge capital P! Have I had a loan when was the last time I had a phone contract, which football team do I support, what colour eyes does my butcher have, how often do I change my socks? Etc, etc. Ok, I may have made up some of these questions, but in all honesty, they’re no more stupid than the official questions. It all ends with a message saying they can’t prove that I am who I am saying I am? This from a government that has more fibbers than I’ve ever known.
I’m Not Me!
I can’t get back into the website for another 24 hours. Actually, I can’t retry to get back in there for another 24 hours. Of course, 24 hours went by and of course, I tried again. Of course, they wouldn’t let me in, saying that I’m not really me. There’s a telephone number you can call during office hours. I gave it a try, but after being told I might have to hold for the next 3 years and listen to some tinny, dreadful musak, another thought occurred to me. What happens, after my 3 years of holding on and I get through, will they just go through the same questions they ask on the internet? Which in turn will mean they will hang up on me as they won’t believe it’s me!
Read The Small Print
I read somewhere, in the small print (it’s called small print because no one reads it) that if I don’t contact them, then they will send me a cheque for the full amount. So why did I have to go through that dreadful exercise? I do wonder what’s going on in this world of madness at times. I know one thing. If I ever owe the taxman, I’m going to insist he calls me up and I will keep him on hold before asking him 143 stupid questions which he will be unable to answer. Then I’ll probably get sent to prison for withholding my tax payments. Oh well, when I eventually get my 17 quid I’m going to go to the pub and have a few beers. I need it.
Have a go yourself and see how you get on: Tax Office.