I could throttle Adam Hart-Davis and not give it a second thought

Yes, it's that time of year again - doesn't it come around quickly. One minute you're enjoying the sounds of spring and the next it's Adam Hart-Davis telling you "tax doesn't have to be taxing". In that case, you come round my house and do my tax return Adam. I'll make the tea.

A number of things annoy me about this, not least the carefree way in which Adam rubs our noses in it. It's also patently untrue - tax is taxing and I have never found my tax return anything less than quite a few hours of taxing. Add to that the adverts don't actually offer you anything, no help, no assistance, it's just a reminder to get it done or get a fine and by the way "tax doesn't have to be taxing". The worst kind of marketing and as you can probably tell, it gets my goat.

Maybe I just fall into an "awkward category". I get a tax return every year without fail (probably because the process always ends up with money being owed one way or the other - usually I owe them). Most people I know have had a tax return at some point but no longer have to fill one in. Smug ********. It's not that I have a lot of money - I just seem to have a bit of an awkward tax situation. Not awkward enough that I need to pay someone else to do it mind you; mine is well within the realms of the "normal" person. It's just painful and time consuming.

Of the 10 types of supplementary page I have to complete 5 and some of them I have to complete multiple times. I'm surprised they don't want it in triplicate. (That reminds me of the hotel in Kenya where we stayed on our honeymoon last year - everything was signed for in triplicate. It was the first time I'd seen carbon paper in about 20 years).

image Things start to get complicated at "Share Schemes" when I have to figure out if I've had any "taxable events". Then comes "Land & Property" (I reduced my pension contributions and invested in a flat some years back - it's still costing me money and I can't offset any of those losses against earnings... grrr) where I have to figure out income, expenditure, wear and tear etc. Then foreign earnings kick in because I hold some Microsoft stock (and they've started paying a dividend - life was so much easier when MS didn't pay a dividend). That means I have to worry about exchange rates and tax treaties and the foreign pages really are quite tricky. Finally I can usually guarantee some capital losses for the year from some random stock I bought 5 years ago, forgot about and has since disappeared without trace.

To add to the joy of this, because I have "Foreign Earnings" I can't use any of the free tools or submit online. And I have the fun of using the "Comprehensive Tax Calculation Guide" which they don't bother sending you as it runs to 34 printed pages like the one on the right. I take my hat off to whoever creates those things - they're a very clever piece of design - but you cannot describe the filling in of a complex 34 page document as anything other than "very taxing".

Well now you know what I'm going to be doing this weekend...

Ahhh - I just discovered the Inland Revenue now make podcasts...

Technorati Tags: paye,tax,pain,stick,pointed,eye,argh