Once upon a time, there was the Inland Revenue, and there was HM Customs & Excise.
When Brown decided to merge these two behemoth bureaucracies, disasters were bound to occur, not to mention the cancerous reach of Customs & Excise being extended to tax collectors.
So it has proven.
We’ve already had overpayments of tax credits, which have been clawed back from those who can ill afford it.
“You shouldn’t have spent what you weren’t entitled to, so what do you expect?” go the cries from the collaborators. Ah yes, because after we’ve filled in a million pages of bullshit questions, and the government finally grants us a tax credit to increase income from below the poverty line to just above it, we should always think, “I’m gonna save half of that money, just in case the government wants it back.”
That has caused stress and misery to thousands of people, at the hands of a bureaucracy that claims to be all knowing and all seeing, until it fucks up, then it comes after you like you’ve just put a cat in a wheelie bin.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that HMRC have also fucked up PAYE as well.
Between now and Christmas 1.4 million taxpayers will receive letters telling them that they owe money. The total amount owed is £2 billion which means on average those people face a demand for £1,428 each. Some individuals could face higher bills.
So there we are – many will be ’caught out’. Well, I say ‘caught out’ – actually, they’ve done nothing more wrong than accept the tax coding assigned to them at face value. They will not have thought, any more than the tax credits people, “I’ll save a couple of grand of my earnings this year, just in case HMRC decide it belongs to them after all.
The sensible thing to do would be to issue revised codings for next year so the money can be recouped over 12-24 months. But I bet that doesn’t happen.
I bet they want everyone on correct codings next April, so they’ll send letters to millions of people demanding immediate ‘repayment’ (as if the money belongs to the fucking government in the first place).
Obviously, in dual income households, two people could get this letter.
Let’s consider the human implications of that for a moment. A couple, both working, with two kids that have just gone to school. In November, days after they’ve sat down and set a budget for Christmas, HMRC sends them not one but TWO menacing letters, demanding a total ‘repayment’ of nearly £3,000.
Do you think that family has savings to pay such a demand? Mrs has only recently gone back to work in earnest after having the kids. They were probably slapped by the tax-credits cock-up as well.
Even if, after hours on the phone and multiple letters, some kind of arrangement is agreed, the money still has to be paid back and lots of stress will be caused. The shine will be rather taken off the Christmas these people have worked hard to earn money for.
The government – and I can’t stress this enough – DO NOT GIVE A FUCK.
You’re gonna get it up the arse again, because AGAIN, they made a fucking mistake.
So next time you see some Labour supporting cunt or an apologist for Brown, thank them for this, won’t you… preferably with a branding iron.
UPDATE: As indicated by commenter Sad But Mad Lad, HMRC have confirmed that the money will be recovered by tax codes in 2011-12.
Nevertheless, as a commenter on the BBC points out, some people will be unexpectedly out of pocket by around £120 a month during the next tax year.
And what of those families who are pushed beneath the poverty line by this? Especially where there are two people in the household affected? Ah yes, of course. Tax credits. Pure genius.