Whilst I was unemployed, I received a demand from HMRC for £87.02 of unpaid tax. As you can imagine, I was not especially amused, given that I had roughly £80 a month after rent.
My first reaction was to ignore it. Then they sent me a follow-up letter advising that I needed to pay the full sum of £87.02 by 7th March 2017.
I did try to call them on several occasions to arrange a repayment plan, and when I eventually made it through their automated menu system (my impatience doesn’t help – “JUST PUT ME THROUGH TO SOMEBODY” – “ok, you requested information on self-employed returns”) I was promised a call back from the team that dealt with tight Yorkshire sods like me.
No call arrived.
The deadline approached so I wrote them a letter. In my style.
I would like to raise a complaint about the letter I have received demanding £87.02 of income tax that for some reason you have not collected correctly.
Firstly I would like a full explanation of how the error has occurred and a detailed breaking of your working.
Secondly, I cannot afford to pay this at the moment. Certainly not by your strange deadline of 7th March 2017.
Currently I am unemployed and have been since 7th December 2016.
I receive benefits, both housing and jobseekers, totalling £695.50.
My rent is £600.00 and my mobile phone bill is £12.00 a month.
This leaves me with a grand total of £83.50 per month for food and toiletries, etc.
If I owe this money following receipt of your full explanation and breakdown, I will pay it. I am vaguely proud of paying tax (even if much of it is wasted) and I hold high moral standards for myself which includes paying all debts incurred.
However, please understand that I am currently in the middle of exceptionally trying financial circumstances. £83.50 a month is a very, very small amount to live on. There have been days when I have eaten nothing but reduced-price bread as I simply have not had any food in the fridge.
I am trying my hardest to get a job – I spend 8-10 hours almost every single day either writing applications or upskilling. I don’t own a television and have never watched Jeremy Kyle. But at the moment, luck is not with me, and despite having come close to two roles, I remain unemployed.
I did try to call to discuss this a week or so ago, and after 4 attempts at navigating your menu system, I was promised a call back. No such call was received.
I emphasise that I do want to pay this debt. But I ask for some clemency to allow myself to be able to continue to eat whilst unemployed.
An ideal solution, which I trust would be amenable to both parties, would be for you to agree to collect it via PAYE once I am employed again. Though it is out of my hands as to when I am next employed, I am doing all I can to find a suitable role – if you know anyone looking for a junior web developer in London please do let me know! Hopefully I will be employed before long.
I trust that this will be a mutually agreeable arrangement, which is how you would usually collect the unpaid tax.
Should I still be unemployed at the end of the next tax year – exceptionally unlikely, then I will apply for a sex change, move to Thailand and become a ladyboy, and repay you that way.
Alternatively I might become a Youtube star from my Can I Put Gravy With That channel. I only have 35 views so far, but it is early days. I am aiming to become as popular as Bread Face Woman and would of course be able to pay lots of tax if that comes true.
Though ideally I will just get a normal job instead in the next couple of months and pay you back via PAYE.
Please can you confirm your agreement either in writing to my above address or by calling me on 07831 981 920.