A gentle rant about online VAT returns and other things

 

VAT paperwork

The letter from H M Customs & Excise

 

The October sun is warm enough to allow me to enjoy my lunch in the open air. I’m trying to read An essay on Typography by Eric Gill, but my mind restlessly keeps wandering back to my VAT return. (Yes, I know it’s sad but read on…)

It’s not the return itself. Like many self-employed designers, filling in accounts related forms that come with running a business is a far cry from what I would rather be doing. But, no it’s not the return, it’s the way HM Customs & Excise are now forcing me (and everyone else) to complete this item online.

If this wasn’t bad enough, a few days ago HMC&E issued me with a notice that I would no longer be receiving written reminders. Now I’m supposed to log on, create a user ID and password (yet another one!) and request a reminder to be issued via email.

Okay, okay! I know we should all be doing our bit to be ‘greener’, use less paper and all that. It’s just that this has become one more thing that I am forced to have to do online.

Following hot on the heels of this came another email, this time from my telephone provider informing me that in future – yes, you guessed it – my invoice would be available to me online. They don’t even intend sending my bill via email any longer. No, I have to log on (another user ID and password) and go and get it myself and print it out using my materials.

Guess what? My broadband provider has just done the same thing…(yet another user ID and password).

I’m under the impression that customer care is important to these companies and I sometimes wonder in their race to reduce costs they may well be loosing something as the whole thing becomes totally impersonal.

In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if there’s anyone really out there any longer. Maybe I’m just sorting out all this paperwork with machines in an empty high rise office…

Sorry about this rant it’s just I’m not sure how many more passwords I can really cope with.

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