Saturday, July 16, 2005

You can call me Al

I haven't decided how to start this post. I could start by saying, always hire an accountant. I could say, I've always been bad at maths and terrified of numbers or last year I did my tax return when I was rather ill and muddle-headed.

Are we getting a picture?

The Inland Revenue got the picture.

Yesterday I received a letter from the aforementioned gods of tax announcing that they were going to conduct an enquiry into last year's tax return.

Immediately I a) panicked (my reaction of choice this week) and b) started hunting out my expenses info and spreadsheet. Within five minutes I'd spotted a HUGE error I'd made. Which essentially meant I got more money out of the taxman than I was entitled to.

Oh Dear God, No.

The well written, formal letter informed me that the office was open at 8.30am. I was on the phone at 8.32am. (I paused to blow my nose).

If you're ever in this situation (although you won't be, because no-one is as crap at numbers and consumately stupid as I am) remember to try phoning the tax office when you have finished crying. I think I scared him. Certainly he was very helpful.

Actually, before all you commenters get your teeth into the taxman, I ought to say I've always found them very friendly and helpful. My most cherished conversation with them began, "Look, this is a really stupid question..." "Don't be daft!"

Thankfully some good friends talked me down from my high flights of terror and I'm no longer convinced I'm about to be arrested for fraud. But I now have the unenviable position of putting all my evidence of expenses together. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to trace your subscription payment to RWA???

It's all rather funny, really, but I only started laughing when I got home from a meeting and was met at the door by Husband, with a schoolboy grin on his face, trying not to laugh.

"Can I call you Al Capone?"

"No you cannot call me Al Capone!"


At 2:07 pm, Anonymous Kate Hardy said...

Anna, have you thought it might be the gods (as in 'as flies to wanton boys are we to the gods') looking down on you and saying, 'Hmm, she skived that tax talk at the RNA conference. Let's show her what she missed...'?

Hugs. Am sure your tax inspector will help sort things out. (When they messed up my tax just after I had Chris, I went all hormonal and weepy on them - and they sorted it out!)

At 2:34 pm, Blogger Jaye said...

((Anna)) I've an inkling of what you're going thru. Normally I either get something back from the gov't, or I pay them a small stipend. Last year, I ended up paying them A LOT. because of a one time claim of some extra taxable income. Normally I hear back from them within a month. Last year they took a little over SIX MONTHS to get back to me. Knowing that I didn't have anything to hide, did not help AT All, when phone call after phone call was met with: 'Someone is reviewing your return.' At one point i was even hoping they'd say, 'Hey, we're going to audit you', just so the other shoe would drop. (I have my tax records going back to 1986, btw. that's how much I do not want to get in a tangle with Internal Revenue) But I don't think I had a good night's sleep for all those months until they sent me... a cheque in the mail. Seems I'd overpaid them. ::thunk:: lol

You'll be just fine, hon. :-)

At 5:31 pm, Blogger Nell Dixon said...

It'll be fine, Anna. They usually just adjust your tax code for the following year. Hey, I have dyscalcula - this kind of stuff happens to me all the time. The bank don't even trust me with a cashpoint card - I'm about to be the only woman in Britain who doesn't chip and pin.

At 9:24 pm, Anonymous Suzanne said...

Ack! Hugs, Anna!!!! That is scary, but I'm sure you'll be fine. If not, I will write you letters in prison, I PROMISE.

At 9:42 pm, Blogger Anna Lucia said...

Suzanne gets the prize for the most direct offer of help... I'm counting on those letters, Suzanne! LOL!

I never thought of that, Kate - ACK! You're right, it's a judgement. But I DID attend that first accountant talk in... Durham was it?

Ouch, Jaye! I have to say (and will continue to say!) that my local tax office are really friendly, down to earth and helpful. I just hope they decide I'm a f**k-up, and not a fraudster.

Oh Lord, Nell, that must be hard. I think I have a kind of phobia over calculations. I know having to do any kind of maths in public gives me hot and cold flushes. I can do maths if I learn it by rote, but I've never been able to understand it.

Thanks for the support, guys! :-D

At 11:48 pm, Blogger Kate Allan said...

Hugs, Anna. Try and keep cool and I'm sure you can sort this out. Otherwise, maybe getting an accountant on side is the way to go.

At 9:13 pm, Anonymous Danica said...

Hugs Anna! I don't know if they have tax services over there, but you might try using one of those... much less worry!

At 2:36 pm, Blogger Julie said...

((((Anna)))) You will be fine--you're doing exactly the right thing and it will get sorted out.

I'm with Suzanne though--I'll bake you cookies in prison.

At 10:54 pm, Blogger Jill Monroe said...

Major hugs your way. Keep us updated!

At 10:55 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

{{{Anna}}} How scary!!

Okay so you're set for letters and cookies. I'm sure that Biddy will hook you up with music.

I'll round you up the shark to rep you!!

Lori ;)

At 12:32 pm, Blogger Anna Lucia said...

Thanks everyone! :-D

I got a very intense letter from the tax office again, quoting the Human Rights Act and explaining all about penalties... *gulp*

But it finished with, "I hope this doesn't sound too formal..." and they're being very approachable and helpful on the phone.

In a couple of months time I'll look back on this and laugh. And Husband is offering money, filing assistance, spread sheeting assitance and a shoulder to cry on. Have I mentioned how much I love my Husband?


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