I received a letter from the HM Revenue & Customs today.
It unveiled to me that my anxiety was worth £25. (You see, because I’m worth it!)
It read, “Having carefully considered the circumstances surrounding your complaint I feel that the amount of £25 sent to you was consistent with payments we have made in similar circumstances. Our payments for any anxiety caused by our errors (and or) complaints mishandling are a good will (sic) gesture, a way of acknowledging that our mistakes have affected someone badly.“
Last December, I was bombarded with unpleasant letters from the HM Revenue and Customs and the Debt Management Department. I was chased for the money that I didn’t have. I was harassed due to the mistakes that they’d made.
When dealing with the HM Revenue & Customs, I found that they’re extremely apologetic. They use plain language to the effect of “We feel your pain.”
They started their sentence with “I understand you are unhappy because ……”
“Firstly, I would like to say how sorry I am to hear of the difficulties you have experienced in your dealings with us. It is clear, form my review, that we have not handled your tax affairs as well as we should have done and have failed to provide the level of service that you are entitled to expect from us.” Oh, my heart melted.
I asked for compensation for the cost incurred and time wasted due to their incompetence. However, though they’re apologetic and admitted that they had mishandled my case, they gathered my anxiety was only worth £25. Because I sent 3 letters of complaint, detailing hours wasted by them, my anxiety value is now increased by £20. So, the total value of my anxiety, in the eyes of the HM Revenue & Customs, is £45, equivalent to 5 and a half live chickens.
I’m deeply disappointed not because of my tax being miscalculated, and being pursued for a large sum over Christmas, I’m more alarmed that some people could simply say ‘sorry’ eloquently and still keep their job. What about a sense of responsibility?
I’ve now put a stop to my fight with the tax man, as I’m not prepared to waste more time. With my fight in the past 3 months with them, I’ve received the value of 5 and a half live chickens. It’s a small achievement for me.
In the past few months, my memory has taken me back to this determined peasant (played by GONG Li) in an old film by Zhang Yimou: The Story of Qiu Ju.
I admire her spirit and sheer determination. If you have a chance, it’s a film definitely worth your time.
“The film tells the story of a peasant woman, Qiu Ju, who lives in a rural area of China. When her husband is kicked in the groin by the village head, Qiu Ju, despite her pregnancy, travels to a nearby town, and later a big city to deal with its bureaucrats and find justice.”
- HMRC forced to apologise to taxpayers (simplybusiness.co.uk)
- Now taxman’s errors are YOUR FAULT: HMRC moves goalposts so it is up to taxpayers to spot mistakes (thisismoney.co.uk)