Blogging Up The Works

Thursday, February 16, 2012

An Inspector Calls

An Inspector from Customs & Excise in this case. Except he wasn't an inspector but a collections agent. He delivered a letter to tell me I owe them £8600. That's all the estimated payments since my last payment, in 2004. Only one problem here, I haven't traded with VAT since 2002.

It's not like they haven't been told. It's not like they haven't had the relevant forms returned to them. Indeed, the payment made in 2004 was not actually due to them, but it made more sense to pay it and shut them up than to fight it at the time.

Luckily he seems very nearly sensible and appears to believe it to the point where he is going to report it back to the office. It raises an interesting point though. How do you prove you are not doing something? How do I prove that I haven't actually been setting up contracts and charging VAT and not putting it through my accounts. Although if you were going to do work and not declare it how stupid would you be to think "perhaps I should charge them VAT as well". No matter what you do you cannot prove it.

It's a bit like, how you prove you are not beating your wife up.
You can ask her - well she's hardly likely to say, you'tr beating her up.
Where are the bruises then? - People who know what they are doing don't leave marks.

In the end it's not really possible. So I am offering to do something that puts the onus on them should they come back and I need sort something. I am going to swear an affadavit that I haven't traded using that VAT registration and then lodging it at court. They then have to accept it or try and get a case of perjury against me. Hopefully I don't have to run to the expense of the swearing the affadavit but at least that'll kill it.

Meanwhile, my ex is fighting the local council who, having agreed she was entitled to Housing Benefit, now have a different department saying she wasn't. The grounds they have given for reclaiming the £7200 were proved incorrect when it was first awarded. Everyone who looks at it says it is ridiculous and of course she was entitled, but nobody knows how to actually stop the bureaucratic machine. So, solicitor involved from next Tuesday.

Just as an extra. Her bank have organised her statements to be delivered to the branch which is what she wants. After 6 months not one has turned up. They keep checking the computer. It says they have been sent but they can't tell which branch. So they change the computer settings again. And it still doesn't turn up. What they can't do is ring up and speak to someone to see what is happening. In the meantime she wants a statement and "computer says no".

When did things get so bad that things can't be sorted with a phone call, with two people speaking verbally instead of through an email or contact form. All three of these things could be sorted very simply. But that isn't the option given so hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, are being spent on the first two items rather than someone just press a button and sort things. Is it incompetence or a fear of doing something in case you are wrong and get sued? Lord knows, but someone, please get them sorted!

4 Comments:

  • 8.6k!
    That's a lot of dosh.

    The problem with the HMRC bureaucratic machine ( as you put it) is that it's huge. And the bigger the machine, the less efficient it is - hence why they make cock-ups such as this.
    Glad to see you fighting the bastards tooth and nail.

    By Blogger Masher, At 7:19 AM  

  • Ouch on the HMR&C front and a big ouch on the HB front too.

    To have both problems arise at more or less the same time must be very difficult for you.

    By Blogger Brennig, At 11:58 AM  

  • That is horrible, you have my total sympathy. I don't know how you would deal with that kind of thing. Good luck.

    By Blogger Toffeeapple, At 6:10 PM  

  • Masher - Made worse when they merged Inland Revenue with Customs and Excise. Two totally different environments merged because they deal with tax. I know someone there, they said it was bedlam and not much better now. A bit like telling a cyclist to drive an arctic lorry because it has wheels.

    Brennig - Could do without it. More so the HB one. It's hard enough being homeless as she is at the minute, (in temporary accomodation), without having the council kicking you whilst you're down.

    Toffeeapple - I'd like to say with good grace and positivity but more like a lot of swearing and anti-depressants.

    By Blogger kennamatic, At 7:56 PM  

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