Friday 18 January 2008

Please show your workings

For quite a few years now I have prepared my mother's tax return.

Some of her income has tax deducted at source and some doesn't. Instalments are paid as requested by the Revenue each January and July against the expected balance of tax due. These twice-yearly amounts have been identical for several years and my mother's income has remained fairly constant other than some increase in line with inflation.

A few days ago I got a reminder from the Revenue that it was almost the end of January and that the next instalment would be payable by then - but I had never received a statement telling me how much to pay. I phoned the taxman and was told that the January instalment would be over six times the regular amount. I asked for written details of their workings and they arrived last night. After an hour or so this morning I worked out what the Revenue had done (or rather, NOT done) and phoned them up again. Result! The instalment due is now back down to the normal amount and written confirmation is in the post.

What worries me is this. How many other folk get tax demands that are out by a factor of six? How many of them don't have access to someone who can calculate the correct sums due? How many elderly folk become sick with worry on receiving outrageously wrong tax demands?

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments from previous template:

Richard Thomson
Much the same thing happened to me a few years ago, except it was my accountant who made the mistake on my tax return.

After an hour or so of pencil chewing, I worked out what he'd done wrong and my return was duly corrected. He still sent me his full bill, though, minus an apology.

Needless to say, his services were deemed to be surplus to requirements the following year!
19 January 2008, 19:49:48 GMT – Like – Reply