Farmer Focus livestock:Taxing times for Murray Garrett

Having taken advantage of a Farmplan package to successfully complete my single farm payment online, I felt confident to attempt the same with DEFRA’s June Agricultural Survey. However the ID number and password I had used for the SP5 were refused by the Whole Farm Approach system, since I had apparently registered previously with another set.

Readers may recall these failed miserably last year and I finally requested a paper form. Sad to say, paper wins again this year as I flatly refuse to apply for yet another set of passwords.

Equally exasperating – Inland Revenue have been writing me ever more threatening letters over the past few months demanding payment of ‘outstanding tax’. Both my accountant and I have contacted them on several occasions to point out if they were to process the tax returns we sent them, they would in fact realise I am due monies from them which offset this liability.

However, despite numerous letters and many wasted hours waiting on the telephone to be told “our operators are all busy and you are held in a queue”, HM Customs latest letter states “despite our considerable efforts to amicably resolve the matter of your outstanding liability” (I must have missed those) “you have made no effort to contact this department” (piles of correspondence and half my waking hours on the telephone don’t count clearly) “and have no alternative but seizure of funds or bankruptcy.”

At this rate next month’s article may well be written from debtor’s prison – (well it didn’t do Jeffrey Archer any harm). Finally managing to speak to someone in the distraint department, she almost had me feeling sorry for HM revenue and customs – apparently they are short staffed and overworked and processing paperwork is proving problematic (I know how she feels).

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