Mar. 9th, 2016

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Last year I helped judge one of the rounds of Google's Science Fair. Yay! For which they paid me. Frankly, not so Yay! Because HMRC. So in January I attempted to sign-up for Tax Self-Assessment. The website said it needed to send me registration code by mail, so I sighed, clicked the button and hoped it would reach me before the online self-assessment deadline. It didn't, though in the interim I was told that since I was paid in July 2015 I wouldn't actually need to fill in the online self-assessment until January 2017 - have no idea if this information was accurate or not.

About two weeks after the self-assessment deadline I get an email from HMRC saying they can't send me a code since they already sent me one in 2008 (when I also foolishly allowed someone to pay me a few hundred extra quid for something). Possibly fortunately I had kept records. About half-an-hour of going around in circles on the self-assessment website later I manage to create a new account (or possibly reactivate my old account or who knows?) only to be redirected to a self-assessment calculator thing which informed me that since I had earned under £2,500 and was otherwise in full-time employment paying tax via PAYE I shouldn't fill in a self-assessment but should instead phone the HMRC Tax Helpline and get them to reclaim the extra money by PAYE.

I did this, this morning. First I had to get through the voice recognition software that wanted me to explain my problem to it in simple terms. It would then tell me what it thought my problem was and I would disagree with it. In the end I told it I wanted to pay more tax, which seemed to get its attention. It read me a little information about what to do if I had been sent notification of an under-payment by HMRC, extracted my name, postcode and national insurance number, before eventually passing me on to someone who had as much difficulty understanding my accent as I did theirs. I explained I had earned extra money last year. They told me to fill in a self-assessment form. I told them that the self-assessment website had told me that the sum wasn't enough for self-assessment and should be included in my PAYE code. They asked me to repeat how much I had earned and then muttered for a bit, presumably inputting stuff into computers. Then they asked me what my annual salary was. Since Liverpool has just moved pay-slips online I then had to log into the Liverpool HR website and multiply my payslip by 12. They then checked the amount I had earned extra - which they had wrong, so I corrected them. Then they informed me that I owed an extra £90 in tax and that a new tax code would be sent to my employer.

I've agreed to judge for Google again this summer. I'm half tempted to waive the fee because paying tax on this sort of money is just as tortuous as I recall from last time around and I'm not sure it's worth the time and effort involved.


purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

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