Another waste of public money!

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Saturday 12 September 2009 3.37pm
I've got to admit it, my wife is right, I am slowly but surely morphing in to Victor Meldrew!
The reason for today's moan-up is the letter I received this morning from the tax man. The letter, which of course incurred postage, contained three sheets of A4 paper and a leaflet. The leaflet was to inform me of the various ways to pay any tax which might be owed. The first sheet of A4 explained how my tax had been worked out using the current bands. The second one told me how much I had earned, (which I already knew as I had to enter this amount from my P60 amount on my tax return,) and how much tax I had paid, (which I also already knew as I had to enter that on the tax return also.) The third sheet of A4 Thanked me for my tax return and informed me that I had underpaid tax for the previous tax year ending April 2009. It also stated that I would be informed at a later date, (by letter again of course,) whether or not this amount would be collected through PAYE or would have to be paid on demand. If the latter was the case then it would have to be paid before 31st of January 2010 or would incur interest and surcharges. I don't know the total cost of producing all of this nonsense, but it's surely more than the 20p I am informed I owe the tax man!! Oh yes, 20p, I kid you not. I'm fed up with the trite phrases such as: 'standard procedure' and 'computer generated.' What ever happened to common sense? Why doesn't the tax man wave all 'over' and 'under' payments that are less than, say 5 and donate any surplus to charity? I can't imagine anyone having a problem with that. If there are more underpayments than overpayments then so what? If the cost of producing these daft letters is taken in to account, there won't be much in it. Oh, I almost forgot. Last year I had OVERPAID by 25p! Gospel truth, and I recieved the same paperwork. Perhaps it's these wild fluctuations that necesitates the tax man keeping a close eye on me. Back on a serious note, I took early retirement and my only source of income is my pension from my previous employer. The only fluctuation is the 200 or so a year it increase in line with inflation. On this I am deducted tax at source via PAYE. What could be simpler? Neverhteless, these letters will continue to arrive on my doormat year after year involving the same paltry amounts of overpaid or underpaid tax. Barmy!
Monday 14 December 2009 12.35pm
Further to the above. I received a letter from the Tax man this morning stating that after adjustments I now actually owe 0.00. It enclosed a leaflet advising me that if I do not pay the amount owed by 31st Of January 2010 I will be liable to a 100 fine. Thoughtfully, the tax man enclosed an addressed envelope for my conveneience in which to return the 0.00.
Monday 14 December 2009 3.20pm
I too recently received a missive from the tax man, after completing my tax return before the end of October. It went to my father in law (who for the tax year 07/08 had been my agent, but who isn't anymore, and I'd told them about this twice already), at his old address (he's moved house).
he opened it, obviously, and found out that I had underpaid, and owed the tax man 1.25

I really did consider complaining to them, and quoting the data protection act, and threatening them with legal action (I was going to say that my FIL was no longer my agent, and that the letter had been opened by the new owner of the house where it had ended up, before I'd found out).

instead, I just rang them, complained, got them to change it, and paid the 1.25 over the internet.
Monday 14 December 2009 7.53pm
I'm afraid it seems to be a sign of the times. I don't know how some people keep their jobs. Having worked for seventeen years in the money market, where mistakes cost money.....and Jobs! I had to work very hard on my tollersance to other peoples mistakes. (To err is human, to forgive, devine etc.)Eventually I got there, but I'm turning full circle again because of some recent experiences. The latest two being hospital appointments. I accompanied one of my daughters to the local hospital some weeks ago and her consultant said he wanted her to have an x-ray as he suspected kidney stones. She was verbally given a date by the department's receptionist for the 7th of December. When the confirmatory letter arrived it said the 8th. I assumed that I should take the letter as gospel as they had obviouslty had to shuffle some appointments but, to be on the safe side, I rang them. They appologised and said it should be the 7th and didn';t know why the letter said the 8th. I thought it was pretty obvious why. Someone wasn't concentrating! Another of my daughters had an appointment at the same hospital to see the opthalmologist on the 1st of December. She then got a letter changing the date to the 2nd. She turned up on the 2nd, having taken the morning off from work only to be told when she got there that her appointment was for the 1st. She showed them the latter stating the 2nd and they said, 'No, that was changed back again to the 1st because the opthalmologist isn't here today. No one had bothered to tell my duaghter. We were both cross about this, but after the problem with my second daughter's appointment I decided to phone and complain. I was told the person I needed to speak to was unavailable, (shock,) and that I needed to put my complaints in writing. I would have to get both my daughters to sign the letter, giving my permission to complain on their behalf, and furnish them with copies of all the letters referring to all the appointments, which of course by then had been thrown away. In other words they wanted to make complaining as difficult as possible. Unfortunately they won.
Tuesday 15 December 2009 8.22am
Cross Chalkey? I'd be sending them a bill for the loss of pay.. I work as a humble temp. it helps pad out the pension and pay my bills. One days loss of earning may make the staff there pay more attention to appointments. Bring back the clerical staff and an appointments book and a pen!
Tuesday 15 December 2009 10.26am
Spot on, Jan! We never had to put up with this sort of thing when it was done with pen and paper. How often are we given 'computer error' as an excuse for someone's incompetence? A computer is only as good as the person who presses the buttons. It does what you tell it to do. If you type in the 7th for an appointment, the computer won't print the 8th!

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