The Taxman Is Winding Me Up

As many of you will know, I spent the last 15  years in the USA and then returned to England at the end of July 2009.

I spent the next 3 months trying to find a job, during which time I did not receive so much as a penny in unemployment benefits, whereas I am certain plenty of others who are not British citizens did.   However it’s not this that I was going to gripe about today.

When I started my current job in late October 2009, 4 1/2 months ago now, I was told that I would have an emergency tax code (meaning that I pay more tax) until they can establish my earnings for last year.  Ok, no problem,  except that this is still going on, and the communications are starting to drive me up the wall.

I thought that when I received a tax certificate from the unemployment office showing that I had received the total of £0.00 in benefits that this would be it.   Wrong!   That then followed with a form which required me to list all my previous employers since April 2009, and so I did, including the fact that I was unemployed in Florida too for 3 months of last year.

Friday came, and another letter from the Internal Revenue Service, this time a Red Letter.   No the letter itself wasn’t red, but it made me see a bright shade of RED on reading it.    This letter was far to thick to be just a notification of my new tax code.  It was instead a letter and 2 more forms to fill in, one on my going to the USA and one on my returning to the UK.

Well, the first form was a complete farce.   It had questions such as “When are you planning to go overseas and how long do you plan to be going?”.    I checked with Debbie before replying, and she agreed to go ahead, and so I wrote in every relevant box on the 4 page form…

I AM NOT GOING OVERSEAS.  I HAVE NOW RETURNED HOME TO THE UK.

“On what date will you be leaving the UK?”

SIXTH OF MAY NINETEEN NINETY FOUR!

Each successive question just got more and more irrelevant, and the tone of my resonses got more and more irreverent as a result.    I did manage to avoid using four letter expletives, but I think they got the jist of how I was feeling…

Well now we come to the next form, on returning to the UK.

“On what grounds are you returning to the UK?”

I WAS BORN IN ENGLAND, MY PARENTS WERE BORN IN ENGLAND, MY GRANDPARENTS WERE BORN IN ENGLAND, I THINK I HAVE A RIGHT!

They then asked details about my employment history, date and place of birth, and all sorts of information that they ought to have from not only the previous forms that I filled in, but from my National Insurance Number (UK equivalent of Social Security Number), which is on the top of the form.

They then want to know the places that I lived in the last 5 years, my current address, my employers over the last 5 years etc etc.

Oh yes, they wanted to know if I had been staying in any residence since I returned to the UK and in what capacity.  I felt like saying that I spent the last 6 minths living in a cardboard box under a bridge!   What business is it of theirs anyhow, but I did answer that I had been living with my girlfriend.   Are they going to tax me on that too?   And are they going to want to try and tax me on my last 5 years of employment in the USA, when I have already paid my taxes over there?

Then they of course want my current address.  Aside from the fact that I have already had to fill this out on the form TWICE, it’s the address they sent the letter to in the first place!   Gggggrrrrrhhhhh!

To top it all, and what makes me feel the most frustrated and angry of all, is the fact that there is a 95% chance my responses will be read by someone who wasn’t born in England but who probably doesn’t have a good command of the English language either.

Just let them try and get their hands on the money I earned in the USA for the part of the year I was working there, and for which I have already paid my taxes on…

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