Friday, 28 September 2012

Only two things are certain Death and Taxes!

At the beginning of the school summer holiday an unexpected letter arrived. It was from the tax office saying they had not received a form from me when Andrew had died. The figures on the form will be used to calculate if get a tax refund or if Andrew’s estate still owes taxes. While I hope for the former I expect the latter.

In those first dark months after Andrew died all I did was shut the door on the mounting paperwork, to be brutally honest I’m not that much better at sorting it out now. Is anyone?

Eventually I turned all of my tax affairs over to an accountant. He filled in the forms and to the best of my knowledge sent them off.

He came highly recommended, my friend’s dad has been dealing with him for years, I am sure he is an excellent accountant, he reminded me of one of my uncles. However he is unreachable, he doesn’t have an answer phone let alone an email address. That’s frustrating in this day and age especially for someone who considers herself quiet adept at social media and keeping in touch. Emails are my lifeline!

I filled in my last tax form all on my own. I am an intelligent woman, I keep reminding myself when these problems occur, a tax form is not rocket science and despite my fears the Inland Revenue are unlikely to turn up out of the blue to incarcerate me for tax avoidance.

Taking a deep breath (remembering that - I am an intelligent woman) I downloaded the relevant form but when I scrolled down I discovered there were eight pages altogether. Perhaps I needed a little assistance, so I rang the helpline.

Working through the menus of options I got through to a dedicated line used to dealing with the bereaved. The man at the other end had a comforting soft Welsh accent, he was able to allay my fears and talk me through which boxes I needed to fill in.

Maybe he is used to hysterical women who burst into tears down the phone. I am way past that stage. From my end I’m sure I spoke clearly and my voice didn’t even wobble.

But then the guilt arrives in waves. Should I still get upset? Am I heartless after all? Illogical thoughts crowd in oppressively.

However I was aware of a small tugging sensation, somewhere in the pit of my stomach, a pulling of emotions. The best way to describe it is the feeling you get when you are under a local anaesthetic and although there is no actual pain you can sense skin and sinews being pulled taut.

Something is working at the deepest level and I guess that’s the stage that my grief is at now. No longer are my emotions on the surface for all to see, they are more personal and introspective but still there if I listen to my gut. 

Taking another deep breath I worked through the rising emotional tidal wave that a year ago would have washed me away. 

This then gave me the confidence to complete the form, to the best of my ability, walk to the post office and send it off.  A huge weight off my mind and a big tick on today’s to do list.

Absurdly I hope a bill arrives in a month or so because if a cheque lands on my doormat I will freak out that I did it all wrong!


  1. I'm really glad I connected with you Sarah, you're very honest with your feelings and writing, and I'm sure your words will be a light of encouragement to someone in need.
    Personally, I hope you get a rebate (without any ramifications!). :)

    1. Thanks for your kind words Lisa, I'm loving the whole on-line community of writers I've connected with. You are an encouraging bunch :-)

  2. I wonder what it is that makes us so scared of officialdom? Maybe it's the fear of being tightly bound in yards of red tape, unable to move. (Not the use of the word 'yards' rather than 'metres' - I'm showing my age!)
    I recently received a letter rom the tax man, enclosing a cheque. Like you I would have been happier with a bill. It was for the princely sum of £1.83 - probably cost more than that to send it to me. I've still not cashed it in case it's a mistake. I mean, the tax office don't give you money, they take it of you, don't they?

  3. Sarah - my apologies, I seem to have lost the ability to write anything sensible! My last comment should have said "Note the use of....' & "I recently received a letter from...."

    1. Yipppeee another writer who can't write, or types too quickly more like! No need to appologise at all.
      Yes there certainly is something scary about officialdom, I meant to google if there was a word for that kind of fear.
      I suggest you frame your cheque - you can always break the glass in event of an emergency, for instance if the tax man demands it back!