Tax Credits, how difficult can that be then ?

So its April 2009 and we have just formally liquidated our company, you know, the one that my grandfather started in the 1920s, the one that I was the third generation to own, I’m the carefree flibbity-jib who takes the family fortune and pisses it up against the wall until there’s none left, well you can’t take it with you and I saw no reason to leave it for a fourth generation, may as well have some fun with it eh ?

So, there we are, our income is reduced to zero and we have a mortgage to pay, utility bills to pay, about £1500 a month for this family to just stand still and not eat very much, if we want to eat then we’re looking at, what, £1800 a month ?

I walk into another job, I’m very lucky, it didn’t pay as much though but I love the job and I’m firmly of the mindset that the money doesn’t count any more, I’ve done all that striving for riches, not interested any more, job fulfilment is what matters now and I am fulfilled, if a little poor, we’re about £300 a month short and look to be sinking.

But wait, its 2009, we still have a socialist government and they won’t let us sink, time to ring up the benefits office and see what we can help ourselves to, after all, I’ve paid a huge wedge of tax in the past, now is the time to claw some of it back.

I speak to the tax credit people, we qualify for child tax credit by the skin of our teeth because Jodie is still at college, she’s talking of leaving but I ban her from such treasonable talk and force her to attend for another year –  and we qualify for working tax credit because Suzanne is drawing Job Seekers Allowance, its the wrong sort of job seekers allowance so we won’t get much but every penny counts if I’m to be kept in quail eggs and fine champagnes.

I speak to a woman in the tax credit office who couldn’t be more uninterested and downright rude if I’d started the conversation by suggesting that I could smell her breath down the phone line, I didn’t because I’m a nice polite person but she wasn’t.

We went through our income and she snootily told me I’d qualify for £10 a month and did I want to bother claiming, resisting the temptation to say “Yes, and I want it to come off your personal tax bill please” I declined and hung up.

The next day I thought I’d have another go, got through to the same office but this time to a young chap who was very pleasant, very helpful and so unlike his colleague of the previous day that I thought I must have dreamed the episode with the pig-woman, he filled the form in for me and told me he’d post it to me and I just had to sign it, which I did a few days later.

A couple of weeks later we received a cheque for £700 and a notification that we would be receiving payments of £500 a month from thenceforth – this was good, in fact, it was too good to be true, but still, if some civil servant grants you riches beyond your wildest dreams then you don’t send the cheque back with a note that reads “My dear chap, I couldn’t possibly accept this”, I placed a standing order at Fortnum & Masons for quail eggs and fine champagne.

Fats forward to April 2010 and the annual assessment arrives from the tax credit people and with it a letter that says that the previous twelve months was all a big mistake and we should only have been receiving £10 a month, seems that pig woman was right all along and the young lad made a big mistake, still it was he who filled the form in wrong, all I did was agree with him, well you would wouldn’t you ?

They told me that they would reclaim the over payment which accounted to £6000 from future tax credits.

Right.

And thats what they are doing, last year they didn’t pay me anything but reclaimed a total of £120.

I’m saying nothing.

Leave your outrage in the comments box.

Tomorrow – how the Insolvency Office made an even bigger cock-up.

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