Fear And Tax Returns

I filed my tax return online yesterday.

Nothing exciting about that.

But while I was at it, I’m pretty sure I stumbled on the realisation that HMRC have discovered the most chilling combination of words in the English language;

 “Sorry, the requested help could not be found.”

Anyone who has tried to tackle a tax return before will tell you – some of the terms are terrifying. It’s better than it used to be, for sure, but there’s still the odd bit that’ll throw you.

“Multiple chargeable events” was a personal favourite. Don’t really know why.

Yet it’s always good to see the little question mark icon there, next to these odd phrases. It’s sort of like a life ring you see near lakes on that red pole – it’s good to know where it is, but you have zero intention of putting yourself in a situation where you need it.

But when it comes to tax returns, sometimes you need that life ring.

You’re confounded by another set of words that you know the meaning of individually. Somehow they take on a whole new meaning together here. So you click. And you see;

“Sorry, the requested help could not be found.”

Worse – it pops up in a new window, with the alphabet lit up where other entries exist. As if taunting you – if you knew where to look, buddy, you’d have all the answers you need.

And then it happens again.

And again.

Occasionally, like the briefest glimpse of land when you’re lost at sea, the help you seek appears. But it’s fleeting, and all too soon you’re back to drowning in the terminology again.

So HMRC still has some way to go on the plain English front. But hey! At least it apologised about not being able to help when it suggested it could.


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