Friday, 16 September 2011

Tax craven

On a personal level it’s hard to complain about the recent notification from HM Revenue & Customs.

Headed “We are writing to apologize for the late issue of your self-assessment statement”, it told me that I now have until the end of September to pay any tax due and that I won’t be charged interest as long as I meet that deadline.

Quite generous, I have to say where the essence of “self-assessment” is that I know - or to be more precise my accountant knows - how much tax is payable and that, as in every year, it is due by 31 July.  Furthermore, we all know we get charged interest if the payment is late.

But no - the Revenue say that we don’t (or rather didn’t) have to pay by the end of July - that we can have until the end of September - interest free.

Why this generosity?  Well, HMRC are feeling guilty, explaining that “because we had to send out more statements than we expected this year, we were unable to issue your statement at the usual time”.

I hope someone, somewhere - who has the ability to put things straight - understands that this is a euphemism for “because we are so under-resourced and/or incompetent the nation will have to continue paying interest on a sum equivalent to however much tax is paid two months late, and not recover any of it from  taxpayers who have had the benefit of the money for an extra two months”.

How can we ever expect to climb out of our pit of debt?