04 August 2011

Erglegrew (The Sound of Frustration)

I just completed my UK tax return.

Once I figured out what I was doing, it took about 10 minutes to complete, but first I had to spend way too much time on hold with the helpline and an anxiety-riddled period speaking to an advisor who put The Fear in me by making me think that I was in violation of tax law before he actually told me what to do and how to fill out my form.

Here's my big complaint.  I try to do the right thing.  I made a measly amount of money this year.  Between the two of us, Steve and I still came in well below the poverty line since neither of us was working full time and I wasn't allowed to work or couldn't find work for significant portions of this year.  In the UK, tax is automatically assessed, taken and returned (which is great), so tax returns are only necessary for exceptional circumstances.  I had income the government didn't know about so I set out to declare it and make sure I was square.  Steve warned me against it, advising me not to worry about it, because he knew I wouldn't OWE the government anything and therefore wasn't cheating anyone out of anything.  I gave him a little self-righteous speech about honesty and proceeded to enter the bureaucratic nightmare. 

I hate feeling punished for trying to comply with government regulations.  We're doing the same thing with our immigration and I can't help but notice that all the questions seem designed for people who are planning to cheat the system.  There are pages of questions simply verifying that our marriage is legitimate and not a ploy to gain access to a foreign country.  I'm tired of working with systems designed around the premise that I'm dishonest.  And, really, meaning no offence to Steve's country, if I were going to scam my way into permanent residency, I'd chose a country with a warmer climate and a better pronunciation of the word pajamas.


CSIowa said...

I can hear your sister in my head saying "paJAHmas," rhyming with Bahamas, so I guess that's the way you'd say it, too. An Oregon native who has lived in Utah and Iowa, I say "paJAMMas," which rhymes with nothing I can think of, except for "family" or "famine." Hmm. How do they say it in Scotland? or Canada?

May there be less ambiguous paperwork in your future.

stash said...

At least everything is in your native language. Try doing all that in Japanese!

Steve said...

P'-jam-as. Also, I hate to really stir the pot here, but it's actually spelled pyjamas (in English speaking countries).

Despite Mary Beth's pronunciations (p'-jaw-maws and car-mel instead of cara-mel), she does make the best cannelloni ever known to man. For that and many other reasons I love her.

MBC said...

CSIowa--Yes, as Steve notes I say JAH instead of JA. In Canada, whenever possible (and sometimes when I think it's not possible) the letter A is pronounced as a short A.

Stash--True. I appreciate the English, but I still wish all the countries of the world would just be nicer to me.

Steve--Oh, you're nice! We're going to have to homeschool the kids, though, so I can teach them proper spelling and pronunciation.

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