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Author Topic: Bureaucracy!  (Read 3373 times)

Colin Bishop

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Bureaucracy!
« on: September 26, 2009, 06:03:43 PM »

I sent the letter below to my tax office this morning, HM Revenue and Customs is by far the most inefficient organisation I have had the misfortune to deal with....

Dear Mr xxxxx,

I was extremely surprised to receive your letter dated 17th September this morning (26th September) enclosing my P60 for 2008-2009. The only reason you had my P60 was because it was attached to the tax return you are now requesting from me which I sent you on 13th August. I can only assume that it has been mislaid in your office and perhaps you could check your records and endeavour to locate it. In the meantime, I did take the precaution of scanning the return myself and I am enclosing a copy with this letter together with copies of all my recent correspondence with your office in case this has also gone missing. I trust you will find this helpful.

Also this morning I have received a letter from your Surrey and N. Hampshire Office informing me that I shall be expected to complete a tax return. I already know this as your own office told me exactly the same thing in your letter dated 10th June signed by Mr yyyyyy as a result of which I completed the return which appears to have been lost by yourselves.

As I explained to your office in my letter of 1st June, I simply want to clear the small amount of outstanding tax due in respect of 2008-2009 and would appreciate it if this matter could be resolved without further delay.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Bishop
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FullLeatherJacket

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2009, 06:33:43 PM »

Ah - the innocence of the retired local authority employee................ We should treasure such a quality; it's rare to come across one of such mature years with so much faith left to lose.  %)

Colin - I worked for that bunch for 31 years and I never met anyone else who could understand properly-written English. In my experience prayer stood more chance of a response. Sarcasm was wasted on such creatures, while plain facts were usually misinterpreted or ignored as being too complicated. That was then.

From what I hear from the poor souls of my vintage who didn't manage to escape, morale these days is bumping along the bottom - from below - and a local office is no more than a number-crunching factory full of numpties in woolly hats with woolly heads under them; and that's  the management. Along with Solitaire and Facebook, losing documents is a favourite pass-time in HMRC (or didn't you hear about the CD ROMs which went AWOL?).

I wish you luck in resolving your problem, mate - you'll need it. My advice would be that if they don't want your money then don't beat yourself up trying to give it to them.

Works for me!!  ok2

FLJ
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2009, 06:48:55 PM »

FLJ, I have a long history of explaining to them what I owe them as they are unable to work it out for themselves so no innocence I'm afraid, just resigned frustration. As you say, the simplest things appear to totally flummox them such as changing your employer lease car part way through a tax year which appeared to come as a total novelty. What I am afraid of is having to pay the same tax twice to different offices! I also have contacts which confirm your views abour morale, particularly following the shotgun marriage of Tax and Customs.

I was going to say that my own employers in local government would never have plumbed such depths but from recent contact with the last few remaining survivors of my old office who were masde redundant in July it does appear that they are heading rapidly in that direction.

It's getting almosr as bad as the private sector - with the notable exception of a certain purveyor of electronic products....

Colin
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The long Build

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2009, 06:56:23 PM »

Each month I have to submit our Company's Intrastat report to HM Customs ,
A year ago I got a phone call from them asking me why I was being Non-Compliant !! after she had explained that they had not received our report until the 4th of the following month and as such logged as period 2 , so when in what was actually period 2 and I submitted our report they deemed it as period 3 because they had no record of period 1 , which they did but they had logged it as period 2   so because of this she said I had 2 red marks or as she called it Non compliance hits..  Luckily I always keep our fax return note which clearly shows , albeit on the very last day that we had faxed it over.. Her comment oh , we don't really check that fax any more as we moved offices !!! hence why they got it 5 days late. %%

At to rub salt into the wounds she then stated " So we can log you down that you will be compliant from now on"   >>:-(  
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DickyD

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2009, 07:01:09 PM »

You can have one of my tax returns if you like Colin, they keep sending them to me and I packed up work 7 years ago. %)
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2009, 07:02:57 PM »

In truth, whether public or private sector, some organisations are on the ball and others are totally hopeless. I just wish you could bottle whatever it is that does the job and force it down the throat of the other lot.

Of course, a lot depends on the actual people you are dealing with. Sopme actually have brains and the sense to use them - others just have training.....

Colin
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2009, 07:09:50 PM »

Richard,

Over the last 18 months i have been told:

1. You don't need to submit a tax return.
2. just let us know your additional freelance earnings over and above your pension and we'll bill you for the additional tax.
3. You need to send us a short form self assessment return
4. You will need to send us a full return
5. We are goinig to clean out all your savings accounts (OK, I made that one up)

Over this period my circumstances have not changed.

I am confident that their cost in sorting out this issue will greatly exceed the actual tax they will get but of course there will be no compensation for my time in correcting their errors.

Colin
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Shipmate60

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2009, 07:19:48 PM »

Not just Public Offices.
The Post Office Credit Card is contracted to an Irish Bank.
I was told by letter that I owed 1p interest on the interest accrued on my last statement (Which was paid off in full).
I phoned to query this and was told this is correct (interest on interest even though the full amount was paid off in full).
I phoned to cancel the card and 2 weeks later a cheque for, yes you guessed it. 1p arrived.
I just wonder how much it actually cost to process my debt of nothing!!

Bob
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The long Build

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2009, 07:36:22 PM »

so a 1p debt cost them minimum 26p to send you a letter , then they sent another letter at 26p not to mention the admin time , stationery costs of teh letters etc...   %% %%  thicko's , no other word for it really.
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Jimmy James

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2009, 07:54:37 PM »

Year before last I received my usual tax rebate (For being over 183 days at sea out of the country and having foreign port calls British seamen get their tax back) 3 days after getting the cheque I received a letter demanding that I pay the tax office 12 years back taxes or be taken to court and face a jail sentence... I rang my accountant ....a week after this, I received another cheque for 158.22 sand a letter saying they had made a mistake on my rebate and this made up the difference... 10 day's later I received a Simmons to appear at court for none payment of taxes... I rang my accountant ...she said to leave it with her and post her all correspondence... She rang back later to say it was all sorted out and that I would be receiving another 200.23 rebate as they had made still another mistake????? Confused are you?.... Not nearly as much as I was.... I put the money in a high intrest account in case they had made yet another mistake...But.... nothing else has happend... No letter of apology.... No notice of the court case being cancelled ... Just silence...
Freebooter
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Wasyl

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2009, 11:42:19 PM »

In Sept 2004 I discovered i had,not paid tax for the past 5 years,1999/2004, during this period i was self/employed,i got the bulk of my work from two Property Management Co,who paid me weekly/monthly,each cheque had wages/salary written on it,i rather stupidly thought that my tax was being paid at source,Then in Sept 2004,I discovered my tax had not been paid,
I went to my local tax office,explained to them what had happened,they then gave me 5 tax returns to fill in, I got an accountant gave him a mandate,allowing all correspondance to go to him as well as me,
In November 2004 i got a demand from HM tax for 22,000,for the past 5 years,To say I c*****d is an understatement,
I phoned HM Tax and spoke to a Mrs Young,she informed  be that i had 7 days to pay,and failure to pay would mean i would incur penalties of 60 per day for each non returned tax year,meaning 300 aday would be levied against me,
I told her that had "i been of a nervous disposition and had higher celings in my house" I,d be hanging from them,by now,"she said "don,t be so dramatic Mr Omelasz" and then proceeded to read me the riot act,so to speak,I hung up,
Next day I went to see my accountant,who told me,"Don,t worry about it,"over the next 6 months with letters toing and froing between my accountant and HM tax,we were now into June 2005, we were going on holiday to Germany for one month,when a letter came from HM tax,It was a final demand for 2367.59 tax for the last 5 years,not the 22,000,
I went to see my accountant,and asked him "will i pay this"he said No,and that he was still fighting my corner,and that i should go on holiday,and enjoy myself,We returned on the19th July,and there was a brown envelope from the Taxman wai ting for me,With much trepidation i opened it,It was a full and final demand,for 722.07 + 8% interest from the 16th June 2005,this being the full amount for the years 1999/2004, I rushed down to my accountant, and said,"do i pay this"he said yes,I went to the tax office ,paid the 722.07+ 8% interest from June,I got a receipt which said that my tax bill was clear and come next April 2006 I would start from scratch,In 2006 i filled in a return and in June 2006 i got a rebate of 278,
Had i been stupid enough at the start,i could have ended up paying thousands I just wonder how many other people get hit with these ludicrous amounts when in actul fact the true sum is a lot less

Wullie
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gingyer

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2009, 12:50:48 AM »

I got a letter in last year in may telling me that I ad not paid enough NI contributions
and they wanted me to pay 400 if I wanted to be up to date
strange as I am PAYE so I phoned our wages who told me everything had been paid
my wages slips said the same
Called the tax office who told me that I had to pay the 400
Re-read the letter and it stated to get the state pension when I retire I had to pay in for 25years
of my working life. thought about it and as I am only 30 why pay in more money when I have atleast 35
years until I retire phoned the tax office and they confirmed this so nicely told them where to put their letter.
then the girl said something that took a few minutes to sink in this letter was sent out in may but the final
accounts for PAYE companies wont be compiled until the end of july  when I quizzed her more she told me that the letter
is sent out asking for extra money from me for NI contributions but the company may already have paid them and their
accounts team wont know until the end of july. Middle of August got a letter telling me that all my contributions
were up to date and have nothing to pay this I find totally unacceptable and this may got a letter telling me the same
I called and gave them dogs abuse why chase people for money when they dont know if it has or has not been paid >>:-( >>:-(

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derekwarner

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2009, 02:23:02 AM »

A few years ago... I received a 'parking fine' of $100 AUD....for contravining a NO PARKING sign at Sydney's Mascot Airport on xx/yy/zz........I checked my day book & it confirmed that I was in Wollongong & the Port Kembla steelworks all day

Telephoned the Macquarie Airports Corporation Hot Line  and advised the young lady that my day book confirmed yes I do frequest the Mascot domestic terminal when flying interstate however by shuttle bus as the parking fees are very high....& I certainly did not attend on the stated xx/yy/zz.....no no no she said,,,,your vehicle ADN-34P a silver Nissan 2 door coupe sports car parked contrary to a NO PARKING sign at the Mascot International terminal & we have photographic evidence of this  ........& if you don't pay the $100 AUD fine a Court Summons will be issued

I then suggested calmly  O0 to this lovely  :-)) woman...

Yes  - vehicle ADN-34P as registered in NSW was my vehicle
No - vehicle ADN-34P is not a a silver Nissan 2 door coupe sports car, but a white Mitsubishi 4 door sedan

This young lady is beginning to sound as though she is not that loverly as I first thought as she restates that the Macquarie Airports Corporation security service has photographic evidence of my illegal parking ..so pay the fine or get the Summons

Again I politely ask the woman if she could please fax a copy of the Macquarie Airports Corporation internal document that attests that ADN-34P was a silver Nissan 2 door coupe sports car...& YES  :-)) the fax arrives

I then photocopy my registration for ADN-34P [white Mitsubishi 4 door sedan], get a statutory declaration from a principal engineer at the Port Kembla steel works confirming my attendance there that day & post by REGISTERED Australia post the said documents with an explanatory letter  >>:-( 

One month later I receive another communication from those lovely people at  the Macquarie Airports Corporation who acknowledge

" in view of you communication & the fact that you have no previous history of illegal parking at the Mascot International terminal, we will in this case only waive your $100 AUD parking fine, however any repeat parking offence on your part with your silver Nissan 2 door coupe sports car ADN-34P will not receive such consideration"  %% %%  %%


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Derek Warner

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Wasyl

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2009, 03:20:56 AM »

Talking about NI,contributions,last July,i was given by my GP a 3 month Insurance certificate,I applied for Incapacity Benefit,but was told that i had a shortfall in contributions, and that i,d have to claim Income support,I put a claim in for Income Support,but it was rejected,on the grounds that as my wife earns 112 per week part/time,this sum is what the Government says that a couple can live on,when I protested,I was told to contact the NI people and request a total from them regarding how much of a shortfall i had,I did this, and they said that I would need to pay 8000 to bring my contributions up to date,when I told them i did not have this kind of money,they said they would settle for 6000,I spoke to my accountant about this,and he told me,
If I paid the 6000, and continued to pay NI,until i was 65,which is another 6 years,I would have to live until i was 75 in order to recoup the 6000,If i did,nt pay the 6000,and paid no more NI,over the next 6 years, Come 65 when my state pension would start, I would be 1.20p worse off per week,As it is now,i have taken early retirement due to those health issues,and get enough money through my DLA and other benefits,

Wullie
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Roger in France

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2009, 07:53:19 AM »

Well how about the NATWEST BANK........

3 years ago, as a result of poor service and failure to assist me as I asked, I closed my two accounts and withdew all the money in them. I then had a letter saying they would not continue to support accounts with nothing in them. I called them and reminded them I had closed the accounts. "Oh no you have not", they said. Have a look on your files I said and see the letter from me on xx/yy/zz closing the accounts. They denied having such a letter. I pointed out that it had been sent by "signed for post" and I had a signature from them. "Oh, alright", they said, "We will accept this verbal instruction". For two years since, each quarter day I have had a statement showing one account still exists and has 2p. in it. I decided to ignore it but did reflect how much it must be costing other customers to service the accounts and send me all these statements (posted to France).

Last month I have a letter from the NATWEST BANK telling me that they thought my "Privilege status" with their Bank was no longer suitable for my needs and my accounts would be made into "Standard" accounts. I could not resist it and sent them the most sarcastic and vitriolic letter I could draft telling them just why I had closed the accounts and that what their latest letter meant was that they were not making enough money out of me for the "Privilege services" which I had never had in any case. As the letter was so direct and ended by telling them where they could stick my 2p. I expected to hear nothing further.

However, I have a letter from them telling me they quite understood my position and enclosing a 2p. coin. Two days later I receive a quarterly statement showing an account with 2p. in it! The next day I receive a letter telling me they had closed my accounts and enclosing a CHEQUE FOR 2p. The day after I received a statement saying the balance in my account was zero.

How much did all this cost? Do you think I am free of them now?

Roger in France
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2009, 09:47:01 AM »

No Roger expect a massive penalty for going overdrawn for a couple of days...

Colin
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FullLeatherJacket

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2009, 10:05:16 AM »

I was listening to a program the other day which included a piece about a guy who actually makes a living from writing letters of complaint to banks etc for other people. He had many anecdotes but my favourite concerned a snotty letter he had received from Bank A ,demanding repayment of 200 which they had accidentally credited to his account with Bank B. He wrote back, enclosing a cheque for 180 and a note explaining that he had deducted a 20 Admin Fee...............now that is one cool dude!  8)

Funny, but when in the employment of HMC&E (still can't get used to 'HMRC') I was frequently told by business folk that that they were "having trouble with the bank". When I said "Oh - you must be with Natwest, then" the reply was always "How did you know?".  (No - it's not  libellous; that  has to be untrue..............)

FLJ (Not with WaspNest Bank).
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ZZ56

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2009, 07:24:35 AM »

We often got my grandfather's utilities bills as he had the same name as my dad... except we lived almost a thousand miles away.  One has to wonder why nobody stopped to think ''gee, we don't service that area as it's two days drive away, perhaps we've got the wrong person".  The spooky part is, sometimes we would get mail that had been intended for us, but completely and totally misaddressed.  There's no way it should've gone to us by name alone.  My dad says that was his grandfather's ghost, a postman in life, keeping tabs on us.

Derekwarmer, your story reminded me of the famous letter by the New Zealander who also got stuck with a bogus ticket:

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malcolmfrary

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2009, 11:19:20 AM »

When dealing with official bodies, remember that the person at the other end is probably being paid national minimum plus the bare minimum above that.  One tries to remember what you get when you pay peanuts. 
Their managers at two or three levels further up probably entered their  service as graduates, and thus have zero knowledge or ability about the job they are directing, but a great ability to talk their way into a job that they will never be able to do.  Its called a kakistocracy.  Something like a mediocracy, government or management by the most mediocre.  As opposed to a kleptocracy, where the intention is to govern for personal gain, but is often combined with the other two..
The one quality that these people possess in abundance is tenacity - once they get hold of the wrong end of the stick, there is nothing that will induce them to let go.
It was one of Parkinsons Laws that a person in a large organisation would rise to one level beyond their actual ability.  Just an opinion, from observation, but graduate entrants usually start there.  It does explain much.  Doesn't make it any better, but it explains it.
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Wasyl

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2009, 07:40:17 PM »

Every year,we get a demand from the council for unpaid council tax which usually starts off,Dear Mr, xxxxxxxxx you have failed to make a payment on your sewerage account,"we have a sceptic tank"i explain this to the council,who then reply, with, Ah,but it has to be emptied,therefore you still have to pay,No, i tell them,and this goes on for approx 2/3 months until eventually the admit defeat and tell me they are sorry for disturbing me,Then when net year come,s .....the whole process starts again,
"we don,t pay for water either"ours comes from a spring,but the council have,nt cottoned on to it yet,


Wullie
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2009, 07:45:09 PM »

Quote
remember that the person at the other end is probably being paid national minimum plus the bare minimum above that.

So why all the furore in the national press about gold plated pensions then? A proportion of not very much is even less.....
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The long Build

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2009, 08:15:33 PM »

When dealing with official bodies, remember that the person at the other end is probably being paid national minimum plus the bare minimum above that

Like a lot of us, but even I know that 2 plus 2 makes 5  :}
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malcolmfrary

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Re: Bureaucracy!
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2009, 09:55:04 PM »

So why all the furore in the national press about gold plated pensions then? A proportion of not very much is even less.....
The press knows that its readership will believe what it is told.  It also likes a target that can't return fire.  Civil service (and any other public sector job) pay rates can be found by walking into any public library and asking.  There's a book in the reference section with all that kind of information.  The pension rates can be inferred with total accuracy from that. 
The "gold plated" pensions are for very, very, senior people, usually on a personal contract outside of any rank and file agreements.
When I was an industrial civil servant and became disestablished, it was found that the pension fund was severely lacking.  We were "allowed" to double our contributions for the next several years to make up the difference.  This for an "inflation-proof", as John Snow sneered, pension that was linked to inflation, but capped at a fairly low maximum for a rather larger contribution compared to a "normal" pension.  I know that my local barlord suddenly stopped spouting his usual uninformed drivel about pensions after I showed him my payslip with the deductions.  He worked out for himself what he would have to pay from his income, and did not like the idea.
There is no such thing as either a non- or -contributory works pension.  All the money that goes in could have gone into the wages, and been diverted after payment.
Anyway, numpties who insist on their absolute right to hang on to the wrong end of the stick are the pits to deal with.  Especially when, having been presented with all of the information needed to get the right answer, resolutely refuse to accept it.  (Been dealing with Grittish Bas, whose complaints department must be being run by a champion empire builder, as at the last count it seems to be the major employer in Hampshire).
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