A fellow traveller !
You appear to be slightly incredulous as if this is your first experience of astonishingly corrupt bureaucracy as you describe in Tax Hell ! Surely that cannot be the case if you are a journo ?
I fell from what passes for semi-wealthy middle class grace due to a combination of various odd circumstances which have left me currently a penniless peasant, single parent, fighting off endless absolutely astounding State sponsored garbage of the type you describe in Tax Hell.
– Customs and Excise arbitrarily bankrupt me about 1999 on the basis of imaginary estimates of unpaid VAT, despite the fact I made many telephone calls to them telling them I was no longer trading and owed no tax. Although they responded to these telephone calls with bits of paper showing evidence I had told them I wasn’t trading, they just carried on estimating and bankrupting anyway. I suppose they must have just done it because they were bored and needed something to do to just keep them busy really.
Because of a slightly dramatic medical emergency experienced by the mother of my son on the day of the bankruptcy hearing, I failed to make it to court as planned. If I had gone to court, there simply couldn’t have been a bankruptcy, but it happened by default – of course.
I got to court a few weeks later, when Customs told the judge that, no, I didn’t actually owe, and never had actually owed, any of the fantasy money dreamed up by the VAT man at all. In fact he said there had been a meeting with me at some point prior to any court proceedings where I had settled the last valid VAT bill and had a friendly face to face discussion about how I was no longer trading while I actually handed over all the cash that I owed to close my account completely.
But the VAT man seemed a bit petulant about me not being very compliant with ‘procedure’ and form filling – useless bureaucracy and making up non-existent rules as go by the Vat man to you and me !
The problem was, the VAT man said, was Customs and Excise had no option but on carry on making imaginary estimates of tax I should be paying each month on the basis of what had been paid in the past when I was trading even though they knew perfectly well I had told them many times I had ceased trading.
Why was this ? Well, it was just that I hadn’t filled out the right form, apparently ! So, they knew perfectly well I owed no tax because I wasn’t trading, but they just deliberately carried on letting their computer automatically making imaginary demands which were never going to be paid. Then, when these demands went unpaid for a few months, they ‘automatically’ commenced bankruptcy proceedings knowing full well the whole idea was a complete fiction.
It didn’t seem to matter that it would cost the taxpayers a fortune in wasted money and wreck the life of the person they were pointlessly persecuting – simply because the right form hadn’t been filled in !
Purple smoke flew out of the judge’s ears as he spluttered to the VAT man that they were complete fools and what business did they think they had bringing a case like this to his court to waste his time with !
The judge was slightly puzzled as to how to un-bankrupt me on the legal technicality of seeing as how I could never have been properly bankrupted in the first place, it seemed to be something that hadn’t quite properly happened at all and therefore didn’t actually exist as a kosher bankruptcy, and so therefore couldn’t just be annulled. A bit of a legal puzzle.
But some compromise was cobbled together and the bankruptcy was made to just disappear – poof – just like that !
But of course it didn’t really disappear as it had by now utterly destroyed my credit record, which then led to a series of several sub-prime mortgages and the exciting experience of losing about £500 000 equity in my house while being fleeced by completely dishonest banks and fending off about three different re-possessions and evictions in a row in a desperate bid to keep a roof over the head of my infant son and me.
– by now I was thoroughly within the clutches of the dependency State, where my every daily action was controlled or interfered with in some way by a vast army of time wasting idiots similar to the ones you have been dealing with.
As a result of this I have a huge catalogue of stories like yours. Immense numbers of stories; awesome examples of truly incredible bureaucratic filth poisoning everyone’s lives all the time.
– One of them was indeed a tax investigation whereby I only escaped the clutches of these corrupt, dishonest thieves by forking out £600 to an accountant (with my only income being state benefit of income support) to do pretty much absolutely nothing at all that I couldn’t have done myself . I’m not complaining about the accountant. He spent some hours on my behalf and was due payment for that. It was just that what he did was completely, completely silly, irrelevant and entirely pointless – except it had the value of showing the Tax Commissioners that I was worth taking seriously and so the case would get another hearing before them, after the accountant had done whatever he was supposed to do.
It was clear without that appointing of an accountant I would have had it – been taken to the cleaners and been prosecuted for tax evasion on the basis of the pure fantasy that I must have had an (entirely imaginary ) income which I hadn’t declared at all.
When I had that next Tax Commissioner’s hearing – the third in all – the Tax Commissioners became very, very cross with the Inland Revenue, because they had failed to turn up at all to any the three hearings anyway. So the Commissioners crossly said they would dismiss the case against me and said the Inland Revenue behaviour was quite unacceptable and positively insulting to the Tax Commissioner’s Court.
– the next major kerfuffle was the business of me asking social, services in the small matter of actually doing their job of helping children and disadvantaged adults when the mother of my son and two other small children suddenly became seriously mentally ill with schizophrenia, thus putting three children at grave risk at a place two hundred miles distant from me.
This social services story is vile. It shows the spendthrift wickedness of social services in a way they cannot wriggle out of like all the ones they do wriggle out of – even when, like Baby Peter – they are quite obviously culpably liable for grotesque negligence.
But, there you go. That is Modern Times in Britain today with a corrupt government wasting about half the country’s earnings on mercilessly persecuting the entire population of brow beaten taxpayers facing relentlessly rising taxes to pay for the madness of Gormless Gordon, the retarded idiot running the country.
I hope this little letting off of steam amuses you.
I mean, you have to laugh, don’t you ?
Otherwise you would spend all your time crying buckets of blood and tears at the Modern Times we live in.