Thursday, 27 October 2011

It's All In Code

I know I look a bit raddled sometimes, like now, because I have a cold - itchy eyes, squeaky ears and a tissue up my nostril - but I'd like to think I'm still erring on the appearance of the right side of 50 on most days.

So it came as a bit of a surprise when I got my first salary slip from my newly named school last month and it was bearing a different tax code.
'What's this?' I thought. 'This is not right. Some of my salary is missing.'

So I looked up the tax code on Her Maj's Inland Revenue Website. 'P' it said, 'is the code for people aged 64-74.'

Well, I checked the mirror and my birth certificate, just in case I'd slipped into some weird space/ time continuum (there is A LOT of Doctor Who stuff in this house), and then I went to see the lady in the finance office at work.

I explained my tax code issue. 'I think you're taxing me as a pensioner,' said I.

And do you know, the lady looked at me as if to say, 'And?'

Luckily for her she didn't actaully say, 'And?' She said, 'I'll speak to the Bursar. Don't worry, if it's wrong, you'll get a rebate next month.'

IF? IF?????

Well, I needed facts and I needed them now, so I phoned the Inland Revenue. I explained my tax code issue. They said, 'Yes, you've been given the wrong code. Don't know why. We didn't send it. But as the school is operating under a different name, it may have been a problem with the changeover. Wait until your next salary slip. It'll be sorted by then.'

Of course, it wasn't. And 'twixt then and now, I worked out what had happened. There is another lady who shares my surname at school. She works during the exam season only, as an invigilator. She is a lady of a certain age i.e 65-74. I reckon they mixed us up.

I said as much to the lady in the finance office. 'Well,' she said, 'the Bursar says your code is correct.'

I said, 'It isn't.' The lady shrugged. I restrained myself. I knew I was right. I don't go into these things without getting my facts straight first.

So I phoned the Inland Revenue again. I said, 'I think I've been given the wrong tax code.' I told them the tax code on my salary slip.
'That's a code for pensioners,' said they.
'I know,' said I.
'We haven't told your workplace to change your code,' said they. 'They're wrong.'
'I know,' said I.

There was a pause.
'We think we know what's happened,' said they. 'They've mixed you up with someone at your school who has the same surname.'
'I know,' said I.
'Tell your work what's happened,' said they. 'They'll sort it out.'
'They won't,' said I. 'I've tried,' said I. 'They say I am wrong.'
'No,' said they. 'They are wrong. In fact, it looks like they've been wrong since April. Tell you what, we'll send them a copy of your correct tax code. Then they'll have to put it right. They'll give you a refund of overpaid tax.'
'Thank you,' said I. 'You've been very helpful.'

I replaced the receiver. 'HA!' I said to myself in a triumphant and vindicated kind of way.

Why does life have to be so awkward sometimes? Why do I find myself having to sort out other people's cock-ups?

I'll tell you why. For the pleasure of being able to 'HA!' every now and then, knowing you've been right all along.

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