Yuk. Excuse the abrupt start to this post skint pals, but as I write I’m on hold, on speakerphone, to our illustrious tax people, HMRC, and have been now for 23 minutes – and counting.
If this was the first call I wouldn’t mind, but my one-sided attempts to connect are becoming a regular thing. In fact, I’m starting to feel just a teensy bit like a stalker, constantly trying to get in touch with a target who doesn’t want to know. The problem? Well, it started a few months back when I got one of those letters we all dread, informing me that I had apparently underpaid tax by £576 last year. Yikes. Except, I was pretty sure I hadn’t – and still am.
The source of the confusion is a company car that I had for two months from April – June 2010. HMRC in their wisdom seem convinced I had it all year, despite receiving a letter from my former employer giving them the exact dates. They’ve got the letter, I’ve got a copy of the letter, but you know those times when you feel that you’re actually living in a Kafka short story, such is the bureaucracy you’re swamped in? Well, that’s been my pleasure for the last few months as I try to sort it and as HMRC request the same info again and again, seemingly without sorting a thing.
Half an hour on speakerphone now and I’m still hearing that ‘one of our advisers will be with you as soon as possible.’ It’s reminded me once again that it’s this kind of tedium that puts me – and half the population – off sorting my finances at all, as I blogged about before here. If it takes this much energy to sort out money stuff, the temptation is always going to be to leave it till tomorrow. But, as I promised in the Skint 2012 savings challenge, I must stop being an ostrich and try to tackle these things head on.
To pass the time (42 minutes on hold now – and it’s not a freephone number), I’ve been trying to find images that reflect how I’m feeling right now:
Ah-ha! Goofing around searching for images seems to have worked! I actually got through to a nice woman (48 minutes), who noted what I wanted and has now put me back on hold whilst she searches for the paperwork. Grr.
Oh, she’s back . . . . . . excuse me folks.
‘!!?£grrr. . . . .’
‘No! $!!£?? Car . . . no way . . . hang on a minute . . . !!!!’ (and so on, and on, and on).
Right, sorry about that. The upshot is that HMRC say they’ve got some of the paperwork they need from me but not all and could I please send it in again, please? I am channelling Gaga and trying to keep my cool. I will keep you posted. So, an hour after I started the call I’m off to re-re-resend the stuff. Thanks for keeping me company, Skint pals. I promise that my next post will be cheerier, but if you’ve got any HMRC or other bureaucracy tales of woe that you’d like to share they might just, perversely, cheer me up. Schadenfreude makes the world go round, after all.
Anyway, I’m still glad I made the call to HMRC today. See, in years gone by I used to stuff any envelope marked with HMRC into that Agent Provocateur bag, unopened, never to see the light again. At least these days I’m taking action. And it will get sorted I know, just perhaps not before I die. Hope you’re afternoon’s going well. May all your frustrations be small ones, and all your savings huge.
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