Monday, 17 August 2009

show me the money

Having not blogged in several weeks, I'm at that horrible point now where there's too much to talk about to say anything, and therefore it's easier just to pretend none of it ever happened. This includes, but is not limited to: New Wine Ireland, Camp Alliance '09, more gigging, the better half now being a doctor, leaving Belfast, and fixing a car with plastic glue (again!). Perhaps I shall recap these at some point (there's two or three points of note that are worth highlighting - two words: "sky lanterns".)

However, one other thing casts a lengthly shadow over all of these things: I started a new (non-videography related!) job. It's very nice so far: today I've mostly been considering funding for a trip to an open farm and catching up on some reading about Baptism theology. Something though that has been a pain in the rear - enough of a pain in the rear to motivate me to write, in fact - has been money.

It's fantastic to be in salaried, contract, relatively secure post. Brilliant. Proper job, in fact. However, despite having departed my previous employer in June (having ceased actually working for them in April) I still have not received a P45. Several phone calls, much buck passing, and a couple of very annoying people at the tax office later, and STILL no P45. Which leaves our poor treasurer, who obviously didn't know me from Adam previously, trying to figure out from some scant financial details, how to stop me having to pay through the nose.

This isn't my only irritating experience of HMRC recently though - oh no. July 31st saw the due date for claiming Tax Credits pass. On behalf of another family member, I had undertaken to inform the HMRC of a change in circumstance that would remove eligibility. Fair enough. At the start of July I tried to use the online system. The form didn't work. Tried again. Failed. Fair enough, I thought - I'll just phone this nifty helpline. Surely even the civil service can't get that bit wrong.

But here's the REALLY ANNOYING bit. It's one thing being put on hold for a while. It's another sitting on it for 25 minutes. So I gave up. Tried a few more times in the following three weeks. Same again.

Is this office being manned by a lone chimpanzee? Is the entire province calling at the same time? Is it my fault? Was it something I said?

With only five days to go, I was getting a little worked up. But hurrah - when I phoned this time, the messages and automated system had changed. Fast tracking had begun. 3-4 minutes later, and I was following all the little instructions to perfection, merrily tapping away. And now surely, to finally speak to a personal advisor.

"Sorry, but all our staff are busy at the moment. Please try again later." CLICK.

The machine cut me off! I tried again - surely, it's possible to speak a person at some point... CLICK! What?


This morning, we received a letter to say we were no longer eligible for Tax Credits, having failed to report it.


I hold out little hope for my P45.


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