The one about the Inland Revenue (get it out of the way early)

22 Mar

One of my favourite programmes ever is the Alan Partridge series.  If ever I need a lift, the man himself singing along to ‘Matchstalk Men’ after his (standard) demented day provides exactly that.  I think, however, that the greatest moment of this whole glorious televisual treat is his encounter with the Inland Revenue, climaxing with the crucial line “I submitted Oddie’s receipt for tax purposes, Lynne”.  To see how Bill Oddie comes into it, or what the receipt’s for (genius), so I’ve put it here for those who don’t know it but if you wouldn’t mind suspending disbelief for a minute (or returning to this after you’ve watched the clip and had to pop to the loo for a minute to compose and dry yourself – yes, it’s that funny), I’ll get to my point.

I have a spectacular and irrational fear of the Inland Revenue.  No, not because I have ever submitted an unwise receipt for tax purposes.  After my self-employed spell I have been afflicted with the completion of a tax return every year, and despite the services of a wonderfully patient and competent accountant, and essentially nothing to write home about to go in it, it fills me with the same level of terror year in, year out. I just don’t understand it and I just can’t do it, no matter how many people tell me it ain’t that difficult.

So I feel for the thousands of people who have just discovered that they now have to complete a tax return to prove their entitlement to child benefit.  I don’t want to write about the rights or wrongs of who’s entitled or not (I am not politically savvy enough to feel confident about doing so, although that doesn’t mean that I won’t rant on the subject occasionally, so I reserve the right so to do), but I do believe that this is an underhand tactic, slipped through thanks to misguided representation.  Simplistically its ‘we pay you and then you pay us back’.  

And in the middle of this?  Lots of people too busy to remember to breathe except infrequently have another onerous bureaucratic fun-sapping task inflicted on them.  For those I’m sure majority unfamiliar with the process it leads inexorably either to an outlay on an accountant, which most, I would predict, can ill-afford; or time poring over process, forms and calculations.

Nice one, Gideon, nice one.       


One Response to “The one about the Inland Revenue (get it out of the way early)”

  1. Fiendly1 March 23, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    The Partridge-ism I live by is his lowest-common-denominator TV pitch: ‘Monkey tennis’. Every crap idea my husband or I voice has long been ridiculed by t’other as monkey tennis. In fact, I just discovered that the phrase in fact has its own Wikipedia page (threatened with deletion – save it now).

    Sometimes it feels as though the govt is patronising us all in a monkey tennis sort of a way, simply because we all have too much to do and we sigh and get on with it. So, by degrees, we let them do it.

    Nice to see one of my favourite writers blogging at last. Tweets are tasty but not very filling.

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