Friday, 19 October 2007

Fit for nothing

I am in despair. I learned this morning that the second tax return I sent by Special Delivery at the beginning of September had not been logged in.

You may remember the first one I sent by Recorded Delivery managed to get lost somehow (if you don’t, see
That famous British logic). The Royal Mail assures me the second tax return I filled in was delivered two days after being posted, but the people on the end of the phone (as I said before, you cannot speak to anyone who is actually in the office and has access to your files) tell me they have no trace of it.

What do I do now? Fill in a third one? How can I guarantee the Tax Office will acknowledge they received it?

The nonsense about the location of my Tax Office is even worse than I thought: it’s the Cornwall and Plymouth Area office, tax returns have to be sent to an address in Newcastle, where they are collected, logged in (well, some of them are) and then, guess what, they are redistributed to local offices all over the country. Which means that my files are in Cornwall, not in Newcastle. Are you following this at all? Good for you, because I’m not.

Now, of course, I missed the deadline.

And why am I getting such stress? Because I want to send these people some of my hard-earned money. What would it be like if I wanted money from them?

Don’t ask me to do anything today: it has drained me of all the little energy I had when I got up this morning. I might go back to bed.

Update (13/11/07): I'm off to the post office later going to send my third tax return (not by any special mail, but I still want a certificate of posting). I'm sending it to a real person this time. Will it be 'third time lucky' or 'jamais deux sans trois'?


  1. Oh, Bela! And what you might think is the obvious answer, handing it in in person, doesn't work either. I tried that last year when mine got lost - you are supposed to be able to take it to any tax office and they log it into the system there. They said yes, they would take it, and date-stamp it, but no, I couldn't have a receipt for it to prove I had handed it in. They pointed to a notice on the wall that explained that, because of the large number of tax returns being lost by them *after* they had been accepted, they had decided no longer to give receipts, as they felt unable to take responsibility for another branch of the tax office losing something that had been handed over to them. In other words, they can't manage not to lose them and they were sick of angry people blaming them and/or claiming compensation or refusing to pay late fees, so they have decided to remove the means for those people to prove they had ever brought it, and that would solve their problem and make it ours again. It's unbelievable!

  2. Welcome to my universe!
    Seriously, our own bureaucracy is comparable.
    Sorry you had to go through this, I know it's terribly vexing...

    It's always advisable to keep double back-up of EVERYTHING. (although somehow I think you do?)

  3. Wow. This is pretty amazing! Never had a situation like this. Sorry you're having this problem.

  4. Drat, L, they told me on the phone that taking the tax return in person to any tax office would be totally secure and there would be no risk of its getting lost again. They refuse to take responsibility for anything. Whatever we do, we are in the wrong. Convenient, innit?

    I’ve written to them again to ask them to look for it: they were supposed to call me back today. Er, what do you think? Yep, they didn’t.

    Poor H! It’s terrible, isn’t it?

    ‘although somehow I think you do?’ LOL! You know me too well. Of course, I do. I can fill in another tax return in ten minutes if I need to (and I think I will have to) but it’s the principle of the thing.

    Thanks, TLP; I’m slowly getting used to the idea that we’re living in a third-world country (or is it a Soviet one?).

  5. I've taken to submitting mine online. And while I'll admit that the impenetrable bureaucracy is entirely slap-worthy, the kindness and helpfulness I've found when phoning the Inland Revenue because I'm actually trying to pay my taxes and having difficulty has been both surprising and very welcome.

  6. I'm glad your experience has been better than mine, Liz. :-)

    I would file mine online too if I didn't need to fill in a form that can only be done on paper. Isn't life grand?


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