|Piggy Bank - Wikimedia Commons|
Please, Mister Taxman,
Let me file my tax return
before the deadline.
For two weeks
my efforts to file online,
sadly, were thwarted.
The deadline is close;
stop the red pens, the warnings,
the shrieking sirens,
please, do not fine me,
accept my details as true;
I'm trying my best.
It's true, for two weeks I have been trying to file my online tax return; the deadline is 31st Jan. I'm an online tax virgin and was willing to accept that I might have made mistakes, but no more. It wasn't my calculations that were wrong, no, my personal details didn't please the tax gods. Do I know my name? Birthday ? Address ? Reference Numbers ? Yes, I do!
I have gone for online advice and was fobbed off with long, incomprehensible, pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all advice. I have spent long hours listening to tinned music (music? hardly) while waiting to speak to lovely chaps called Brian, Mark and Dennis to give individual advice. Even though two of them went through my return with me online, they ended up by scratching their heads (I could hear it) and sending me onwards and upwards.
I wish I had counted the actual number of times I attempted to solve the puzzle by myself, going step-by-step through the pages presented on my screen, only coming up against X - warning - three errors on page, or correct personal details, or must be filled in. A crash scene, with blue lights flashing and sirens blaring and dozens of policemen would have been less frightening.
So, this morning, a day before the deadline, I drove to the Tax Office in the nearest town to look for help. The place was shut, the building up for sale. A big sign said Enquiries with Messrs. Scrappit & Floggit, Agents for the Big Society.
With wobbly lip and tears of frustration, after another long, very personal conversation with another lovely chap at the end of a helpline, I had another go. Dear Reader, you may not believe this, but doing exactly the same as before, giving exactly the same answers in exactly the same places, I got through to the end.
Somebody, somewhere, relented, threw a little switch maybe, or more likely, realised that they got it wrong and that I DO know my personal details even if they don't.
I've hardly been around in the blogosphere for the last three days, now you know why. Normal service will be resumed.
PS: for my English readers who may want to attempt to file a return online for the first time:
You are given an emergency Nat. Ins. number, which bears no resemblance to a normal one and may, or may not, be accepted in subsequent dealings with the Inland Revenue. Beware!