21 June 2009

Taxes; and Death by Paperwork

There’s been a heated debate recently between the Government and the Opposition parties about who is going to be cutting spending and who isn’t. For some reason both parties seem to think we, the people, are pretty thick and cannot see through the spin, massaging of figures and fibs being told. Well, some breaking news for the Gordon and Dave Show; we know exactly what is going on, we know exactly what is going to happen soon (cut, cut, cut) and we know exactly who is going to get the sh*t end of the stick (we, the people). But here’s the rub; are cuts always a bad thing? No, is the answer. There are doubtless vast areas of government ripe for efficiency savings and this week I have yet again been the debatable beneficiary of government waste. I refer to the Child Tax Credit System of Wasting Tax Payers' Money. This week my wife and I independently, but on the same day received a large bulky envelope through the door, marked with the foreboding HM Revenues and Customs logo. Each envelope contained yet another letter from the Child Tax Credit people telling each of us, individually, we were no longer entitled to child tax credits. Not surprising really as our “children” are now 23 and 19 years old and should be standing on their own two feet. Accompanying each letter was a thirty page A4 booklet explaining everything one needs to know about the child tax credit system, a tome of such soporific intensity it would cure the most chronic insomniac of their malady. “So what?”, you say, “HMRC has kindly explained you are no longer entitled”. Well, the problem here is that this is at least the third time HMRC have told us we are no longer entitled to CTCs, and each time we are told another tree dies to supply us with an information booklet we don’t read. So this time, I thought a letter was required, and it has been sent with the faintest glimmer of hope that it will be read by a human being of sufficient intelligence to note its contents and pass it on to another human being who has the power and authority to initiate change to this astonishingly complex, expensive and wasteful system:

Dear Sir

Re: Tax Credits – Annual Review for year ending 05/04/2009

You wrote to us on 6th June 2009 (with 30 page notes pack-in duplicate) regarding the annual review for year ended 5 Apr 09. You have correctly stated in Step A that we are not responsible for any qualifying children or young people.

You wrote to us on 6th August 2007 correctly stating that the tax credit award for period to 5th April 08 was zero.

You wrote to us on 11 October 2007 correctly stating that the tax credit award for period to 5th April 08 was zero.

Thank you. We get the message.

Should our situation change we will notify you. However, you may assume, with certainty nearing 100% that our situation is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future. You may therefore safely stop telling us we are no longer eligible for tax credits and save the tax payer a bit of money.

Yours faithfully...

I live in hope….

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