Work not working out.

I spent 30 minutes of my life this morning listening to HMRC’s ‘on hold’ music. I’m a Mum so of course I was doing other things while the music was crackling through the phone’s loudspeaker, tipping poos out of a potty, answering the door to a courier, cleaning the kitchen. Typically when they finally answered I was speaking to someone else on the other line.

I dont know why I bothered. We are desperate to get into a circumstance where we qualify for help with childcare costs so that things arent so tight, particularly now hubby has had to take a paycut. However, nothing can be amended in advance of a change in income and, for some reason, because my new job is inly 10 hours a week, I dont qualify for help with childcare at all – I have to be working 16 hours. So thankfully I have a second job lined up although this is on a casual contract with no guarantee of hours. So I need to work out the ‘average’ hours over a four week period for the HMRC to take a decision.

So basically it is very difficult to earn and have children on low to average earnings. Would they rather I stayed at home and claimed JSA?

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Need for Speed/escapism

Dont get me wrong, i like my ‘chick flicks’, but my favourite movie genre is action and, more specifically films with plenty of car chases and explosions…..and a big dose of vengeance….and maybe a political point made too.

I am a big fan of the Bourne films, I also like the Fast and Furious franchise and classics such as Bullitt.

So I was quite excited at the prospect of watching ‘Need for Speed’. It would have been a brilliant film, had they not used a woman with a fake English accent to play the damsel in distress (why do all Americans think we all sound like members of the Royal family) and a man with an uncontrollable eyebrow and a sore throat (deep husky voice) to play the wheelman.

It was a classic example of how poor casting can wreck a film.  

However what they lost in bad acting, they made up for in amaaazing cars.

It was a very welcome distraction from the mundane trials of life (such as the tax man, the f***** tax man, an even worse Government and the fact that despite weeks of good weather, the one weekend we choose to camp at a music festival the mother of all thunderstorms is forecast).

If we pretend we are a family of mud loving hippos, it might  still be an enjoyable experience.

This blog is for Unicef, a charity that exists to protect vulnerable children world-wide, including those in warzones such as Gaza.

Thanks for reading.  

High-earning Mums Receiving Childcare (HMRC)

Further to yesterday’s post, my call to HMRC this morning left me with no other choice but to quit my job. It is not until something is taken away that you begin to realise how much it is appreciated in your life. This is the case with my job. I have been with the company for 4 years, enjoy working with the team, the variety of the workload and the work environment. The simple fact is i can no longer ‘afford’ to work there. Now HMRC have said our joint  income is  over the threshold, they will no longer contribute towards my childcare costs. My salary only exceeds my childcare costs by £50 and that is before fuel, so i would effectively be paying to go to work. It seems it is a luxury if you are a working mum earning less than £15 per hour to keep the wheels of your career turning, if you want o work before your child is at school and your husband earns at least 20k. In other words, unless you are earning megabucks, the Government want you to be a good wife and stay at home with the children.

As much as i love baby boy, i also enjoy some time at work and I am not altogether thrilled at the prospect of being at home 5 daus a week, but i have done it before when my daughter was my som’s age, so he may as well get the same level of attention. Some people would argue, ‘if you dont want to look after them full-time, why bother having kids’? Which has an element of truth, in an ideal world i would share this responsibility with my husband but  i can only justifiably do this if i can match his salary or exceed it. This is tricky when my CV already has gaps from previous spells of ull-time parenting.

I have just got to do what most mums have to do and ‘suck it up’ , whatever ‘it’ is. This scenario goes to show that Kirstie Allsopp’s view that young women are better getting married and having children in their twenties makes far more sense than spending years getting qualified, only for it to all fall by the wayside once children come along – because to work is a lifestyle choice, only worthwhile for Mums in the top income brackets.

Now…..where is my pinny?

The only Mums who can work are the HMRC – High-earning Mums Receiving Childcare

This blog is for Unicef – thanks for reading

HMRC or Sherriff of Nottingham?

Since I have returned to work after having my son in 2012, i have been relying on HMRC’s childcare element of working tax credit to assist with childcare costs. If I didn’t have this assistance it would be completely pointless to work as my childcare costs would cancel out my earnings. Every time i receive my annual tax credits award, it feels like i am reading some complicated general ledger. For Part 2 you have been awarded £xx, part 3 you have been awarded £0.0 and then at the end of this complicated list of sums and numbers, i read that i actually owe HMRC £6,000. “What!” i scream to an empty room. I then dog put all my previous awards notices to see if i can locate the logic of this total but to no avail.

I dont trust their judgement. They tried to claim £3000 crom my husband recently for the tax year 2012. My husband was confused so he contacted his accontant and rang our old bank to get bank statements and sure enough we had paid ir years ago, it had just hot lost in HMRC’s system and they couldnt be bothered to check it for themselves.  I am hoping it is poor admin that hasled to this bizarre request for money.

I will look forward to sitting on hold for 30 mins before i get through to someone.

Regardless of the outcome, HMRC paperwork would not win awards from the plain English campaign. Yet this is one of the most important national forms of communications – supporting millions of people at all levels of society with their means of earning a living, but what you are entitled to and why is indecipherable. It is almost as if the complexity of the literature they send is deliberate. At least i only have to try and get help with childcare, god knows what it must be like if you are claiming other benefits or allowances. It is so complicated that I believe most people would need the assistance of an accountant to work it out and also establish where HMRC have hone wrong. But most people cant afford accountants fees.

HMRC are there to help the nation, but why do i get the impression that they are more like the Sherriff of Nottingham. In which case we need a modern day Robin Hood, especially under this Government.

I missed a post yesterday so a pound in the pot to Unicef.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Her Majesty’s Fraudsters and Customs

My hubby is a little bit stressed at the moment. Usual work stress combined with other hassles such as his employee nearly chopping off his thumb with a chainsaw along with the constant problems with machinery etc (and of course the weather). Farmers and anyone else working outside for long periods of time do not tend to enjoy this time of year as much.

I came in from work, noticed his car was in the drive and the dogs were in the house, but he didn’t appear to be around – it was like the Marie Celeste. After sorting out a snack for my daughter, I made my way to the stairs to change baby’s nappy and nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw him lying (almost playing dead) on the sofa in the dark. I nudged him to check he was still alive and got a grunt of acknowledgment. He was knackered. Exarcebated by the fact that his tummy was playing up, which, I’m sure , is stress related.

So today he didnt have such a busy schedule, therefore I advised him to try and take it easy and maybe pay a visit to the Docs to get his tummy checked out. Its been causing problems for the past 2 weeks now so cant be blamed on a bug. Am I the only one that defaults to the worst case scenario of cancer every time there are symptoms that go on for a while? I hope not…. otherwise I clearly have issues.

Anyway today was very stressful thanks to the HMFC. The evil version of the HMRC. A message was left on our phone from a scottish lass, “I’m calling from HMRC to speak to the owner of xxxx (she then went on to read out his tax ref number)”. I know hindsight is a wonderful thing but I smelt a rat and, to be honest, I wouldn’t have returned the call. My husband decided to call them to check. Not only did they have his tax ref number, they also had his old accountant’s details and other information about his tax return. My husband was convinced they were bona fide. “Our records show that you owe HMRC £2700 for a discrepancy in 2010/11 tax year”. At which point hubby presses the panic button and gets on the blower to his accountant who is equally mystified. Hubby then calls the PAYE department on a separate matter and mentions the call he has received. They look into his account and say that there is no record of that outstanding amount. The lady suggests he call the number back – why would that prove anything?

I suggest he googles the number (good old google) and it takes us to this “check the source of the telephone number” website with loads of comments from people typing in cap letters DO NOT CALL THIS NUMBER, THIS IS A SCAM. As you scroll down, there are also other comments from people saying – “yes this is a correct number, it is the HMRC debt recovery agency”. These must be comments from the fraudsters in an effort to retain the credibility of the number. What wankers! Has anyone actually paid these fraudsters?? Hubby reported this number to the HMRC and they confirmed it was fraudulent. My concern is this – how the hell did these fuckers get hold of the tax info in the first place???

0845 302 1424 – DO NOT CALL THIS NUMBER

I am blogging every day for Unicef. If you are able to donate, please visit my fundraising site (definitely NOT a scam).

Thanks for reading.