No, nothing to do with Sharon Collins or Essam Eid – the only deadlines I’m worried about this weekend is the one for filing Income Tax.
I’m not a violent person but after sitting for the past few hours staring at the dreaded Form 11 I want to visit all kinds of biblical plagues on the Revenue, and the Department of Finance too while I’m at it. There are so many pages…and so many numbers…and so many notes!
I’m a writer – I deal with words – numbers make my head hurt. I would happily give the Revenue a third of my wages (well maybe not a third) if only they would write their forms in plain English! Until I had actually looked at the damn thing I was pretty confident that filing my first tax return would be no problem at all, but now three hours later I’m feeling like the school dunce and it’s still not filled in.
I know I should get an accountant. Getting an accountant would be the sensible, sane thing to do, given my numerically challenged status. But that would be way too sensible. I decided over the summer that I would file at least one lot of returns myself. So I could understand in future how it’s done. Well I take it back! I don’t want to file anymore. And after Tuesday’s Budget they’ve only gone and made it even more complicated. Income levies indeed! (Not even getting into the whole 2009 Budget thing here).
At this stage my brain is well and truly boggled and my frustration levels are sky high. It doesn’t help that all my self employed colleagues have been telling me how simple the whole process is. Or that I’m struggling with a form that doesn’t even have my name on it.
Because this is the other thing that irritates me about the Tax Man. Ever since I went self employed I have become someone with whom he will not talk. I have become a chattel of my (PAYE) husband’s and no longer merit a letter or any form of correspondence.
There is actually a reason for this. It’s not just random meanness, unfortunately. Myself and the husband, you see, are jointly assessed. And the husband is the principal earner. When part of the joint income is self assessed, it’s supposed to be the principal earner who fills out the forms. It’s that assumption that irritates me. I was the one who filled out the forms to become self assessed. They took my PPS number to do it. Then they wrote back to the husband and told him I was now self assessed.
This was never the case when I also had a PAYE job. I was deemed important enough to be sent my own tax forms in their own envelopes. Even though we were still self assessed. Now that I have more paper work to do and horrible confusing forms to fill out, I don’t even warrant a letter. They even tried to tell me I needed the husband’s permission to use the Revenue online service…though that’s been cleared up now.
I’ll eventually get my head around the form, and I will be sad so hand over the money but hand it over I will. I just don’t understand why just because I’m self-assessed one of us has to cease to exist. I get the principal earner idea but I’m talking stationary here. All I want is the letters addressed to me. Rather than having to locate them in the husband’s rather chaotic filing system.
It’s all very frustrating and annoying and is enough to make you want to be a tax exile! I bet then they’d use my name!