Friday, 5 September 2014

Tax Form Rigmarole is Taxing

My youngest daughter has returned to university for her final year. She is a lucky one who receives a bursary but information about my income is needed. To be precise a P2 tax form is needed. I don't have one this year and I now know why. However I didn't know when I phoned last week. It took a while to get through to the tax office and I was repeatedly told they were sorry to keep me waiting.

If a phone call is free then it doesn't matter too much about waiting on the phone, although time is important to everyone, and even more important when it costs money. I was asked by automated voice to say briefly what my call was about. P2 wasn't clear enough. Then I was asked if I have authority from my employer. This is nothing to do with my employer so yes and no are not appropriate answers. I said no. Eventually I got through to a real person.

Why do we have to deal with recordings telling us they are sorry? Why can't we just have the appropriate phone number when we get an answer we find that we are speaking to an appropriate person? When I did speak to the person I found that they had my old address. He took down my new details and told me he would send out an alternative form to the P2, a P11D. Good. My daughter may not have her bursary delayed.

That was eight days ago. I haven't received it so I phoned again and went through the same rigmarole but this time it was worse. I was waiting in two queues to get to speak with a person because the first person couldn't possibly help me. Now I only have one phone number but managed to get the wrong person. When I eventually got the right person I went through the same checks again including my address. It hadn't been changed. Then, when I asked about the P11D I was met with an incredulous exclamation. The person I was speaking with could not possibly do this. Anyway he checked the records and said a P2 had been sent out - to my old address. He would re-issue another.

I asked if I was being charged for this phone call and the answer was that it depends on my provider (let me presume that I was). I also asked if there was a telephone number that I could use to speak with someone directly just in case I didn't receive the P2. No. The system is centralised and I could be speaking with anyone in the UK. I don't mind speaking with anyone in the UK. I do object to being told repeatedly that they are sorry to keep me waiting. No they aren't. It is in their interests to make money out of me by keeping me waiting. I do object to speaking to someone in a centralised system that doesn't happen to be the system I want. I do object to giving my change of address only to find that it hadn't been changed and I am forced to phone again. I do object to incredulous exclamations from tax employees because of information from other employees. However mostly I object to centralised systems taking my money and causing me to lose around an hour of my time that I'll never get back.

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