The gods are with me … I’ve picked the Ace. And according to the rules of the Deck of Small Change I can do whatever I want with an Ace including give myself a week off from assignments.
Which is exactly what I’m going to do because the last thing I needed this week was a traumatic task from Counting Zeros because this week, irrespective of whatever assignments I might’ve given myself, it’s time to face my annual UK tax return.
Filing taxes is like going to the dentist or buying a white appliance or sorting out a pension, only a lot worse. A voice inside of me whimpers, “What? I really have to do these things???” Each of these responsibilities is so offensively Adult.
It’s NOT FAIR.
I don’t want to.
If you read my Psychology of Money confessions over Panic Station last May you’ll know that I missed the tax deadline of January 31st 2011 by more than half a year.
And so for all of you out there who also need to file UK taxes but who are about to miss the deadline, here’s what happened to me:
Despite my failure to demonstrate to the authorities that I am an adult capable of completing my paperwork on time, I avoided the usual penalties for a late return (fines and extra charges). I did that by calling the tax office to explain that I am a financial fuckwit who needs help. What I actually said was, “Please help me. I have completely screwed up and left my taxes to the last minute and I don’t know what to do.” If you are dealing with petty authorities the trick is to give them ALL THE POWER AND THEN BEG. This works. Or at least it did this once. The tired sounding automaton on the other end of the phone sighed, softened her voice and told me that all I had to do was over-estimate how much money I owed, send that money in straight-away and then when I filed my taxes if I had over-paid I’d get a refund. And so that what’s I did. And even though it took me more than 6 months to get around the paperwork, because I had sent the check, she was right. I didn’t get into any trouble.
I am NOT suggesting to anyone to take this course instead of just facing up to things now … but in the event that you’re as bad as me, I thought you might sleep better at night if I shared my personal experience. As for me, the entire point of Counting Zeros is that I stop behaving like this and so I’m off to face my taxes.