Death vs Taxes

I have been grappling with my tax situation for months, and occasionally sharing my pain and frustration via facebook, so I thought I would chart the horrific atrocities of both HMRC and my irritating employer in full here so that you can all feel my pain and share the burden of horror from the beginning.

I’ll be having tax-related nightmares for weeks, and may also require therapy at some point. And if it’s a choice between death or taxes right now, then point me to the nearest cliff…

It all started in the middle of last year….

2nd September 2015

You know that thing where you work overseas for almost 2 years, and a month before you come home your employer realises you should have been registered as non-tax resident in order to reclaim all your tax? So you fill in all the forms, discover you have to also do a tax return and start the excruciating process of registering online for a self-assessment form.

Then you get stuck, cos you need a special number to register online, but you can’t get one, as it has to be posted to you, and they think you still live overseas and so they keep posting things to Iraq and the Philippines.

You keep calling them to tell them you’ve moved back home, and they tell you that you’ll need to do a tax return, but they can’t seem to fix your address glitch on their system and of course they can’t possibly just give you the damn reference number over the phone …. And after spending more than an hour on hold on three separate numbers before they refer you back to the first number you called, you just start to weep while bashing your head repeatedly against the desk.
Yeah, that.

6th October 2015

And so the Tax Return saga continues.
My lovely new tax man who is helping me navigate the horror of self-assessment (thanks for the recommendation J!), tells me that according to my P60, I apparently had a second employer other than XXX in the last tax year. It’s news to me, but off I dutifully go to my employer’s internal tax people, who send me to payroll, who tell me they’ll look into it….
Ho Hum.


20th October 2015

Death by Taxes. A one-act play by Me.

My Employer: Maya, register as non-tax resident, so we can claim back your taxes for while you were overseas.
Me: I would, but I’m moving back to the UK…
My Employer: Do it!
Me: Ok.

HMRC: Do a tax return
Me: Ok.
HMRC: You can’t do a tax return, cos we think you live in Iraq.
Me. Oh. I actually don’t live there anymore.
HMRC: I know, it’s in our system that you’re back in the UK. Except it’s also in our system that you’re still in Iraq. Our systems are stupid.
Me: Okaaaay. Um, excuse me sir?
Friendly Tax Man: Yes?
Me: Please can you help me do my taxes?
Friendly Tax Man: Yes. And I’m very reasonably priced.
Me: Yay!

Friendly Tax Man: According to your P60, you had two employers last year, who was the other one?
Me: Huh?
My Employer: Wooops… Here’s your P45.
Me: Sooooo, apparently my employers last year were you, and also you? It’s complicated.
Friendly Tax Man: No problem, we can fix that.

HMRC: Congratulations! You no longer pay tax in the UK.
Me: Actually I’m back in the UK paying tax now.
HMRC: No you’re not, you live in Iraq. Our files say so.
My Employer: If HMRC say you don’t work here, we’re going to have to refund you all your tax for this year, even though we know you actually do work here, and obviously you’ll have to give all the money back to us at some point later on.
Me: No please don’t do that… Can’t I just pay tax instead?
My Employer: Talk to HMRC…

Later in October
Friendly Tax Man: Um, you don’t pay any student loans repayments right?
Me: Yes I do……
Friendly Tax Man: According to your P60 and P45 you don’t.
Me: Um, it’s on my payslips, and it definitely came out of my salary each month. Um, Employer, any thoughts?
My Employer: Oooohh dear….. That’s not right….. Ummmmmm…..
*refuses to make eye contact*
Friendly Tax Man: Just FYI, this all needs to sorted out and filed by October 31st.
Me: *bashes head repeatedly against desk until it all goes away….*


10th February 2016

Talking to HMRC about my mess of a tax situation is literally making me weep.
Apparently the million tax forms I filled in back in June (to say I was out of the country and owed some tax back), were cancelled out by all of the billions of forms I filled in back in October (when I completed a tax return because they said I had to), and now I basically have to throw them all out and start again from the beginning.
I just don’t know if it’s worth it – I’m supposed to get back around £1500 of tax, but then I also had to pay £1900 of tax, and pay my lovely tax guy to help me.
If my employer weren’t literally forcing me to do this I’d have stopped the madness months ago. I am tempted to insist that my employer pays for my therapy to get me through the next round of tax-related horror.

I now feel like I’m Charlie Brown, and HMRC is holding the football, while my employer insists that I try and kick it, over and over and over again.
 So, I’m going to go back to my lovely tax man (who in fairness is extremely nice, patient, and very understanding, and he charged me a very reasonable fee – in fact I think he may have under-charged me out of pity), and ask him to help me to start all over, from the beginning, and see what happens next…
*THUNK!* *THUNK!* *THUNK!* goes my head against the desk once more….

2 thoughts on “Death vs Taxes

  1. Start…. from the beginning? oh god……. What a nightmare. That doesn’t even begin to express my sentiment on this. Taxes make me cry so much… I got screwed last year and had to pay taxes (after I had just quit my job and was hoping for a refund) because my health insurance was charging me too low, and the government decided I needed to pay them more…. yeah, thanks America. 😦 I hope this round of everything goes better for you! You may have to put on your tough girl panties and bash heads to get things right…. Wish I could help! Hugs!

  2. Pingback: Death and Taxes | Had we but world enough and time…

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